Millionaire serving life sentence for child molestation hired hit man from prison, investigators say

FOX 35 News at 10 p.m.

- A Central Florida millionaire serving a life sentence for lewd and lascivious molestation attempted to hire a hit man from his prison cell to kill the judge who presided over his trial, along with the assistant state attorney and law enforcement officers who worked his case, according to investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Loomes Wheeler Jr., 72, was charged with six counts of solicitation to commit murder.  FDLE agents served an arrest warrant on Wednesday at the Gulf Correctional Institution where he is housed.   The FDLE began this investigation in October after receiving information from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, and the Florida Department of Corrections assisted.  

Investigators said Wheeler offered to pay $95,000 for the hits and told an FDLE agent, who he believed was a hit man, that he wanted the victims shot to death as soon as possible.

"Trial court judges preside over complex and often difficult cases. While the public might believe judges often receive threats to their safety or the safety of their families, fortunately that event is actually quite rare," said Ninth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Fred Lauten. 

"Any threat to law enforcement causes us great concern and are fully investigated," said Osceola County Sheriff Bob Hansell.  "We worked closely with FDLE on this case which targeted two of our detectives who were instrumental in the investigation, prosecution and incarceration of Loomes Wheeler for his original crimes."

Loomis was convicted earlier this year after a jury found him guilty on three counts of battery, two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct in the sexual abuse. The abuse lasted for year but remained a secret until 2013.  Loomis was formerly charged, but he later jumped bail, cut off his GPS monitor, and fled to the Bahamas.   He was later tracked down and brought back to the United States for trial.

Investigators said this latest case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 14th Judicial Circuit. 

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