Inmate accused of plotting murders of sexual assault victims

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Credit: Peter Macdiarmid

An inmate in a Pennsylvania jail the Allegheny County Jail is accused of plotting the murders of five juveniles who accused him of sexual assault.

Michael Scherbanic, 29, a prisoner in the Allegheny County Jail and is now charged with 27 new criminal counts, including solicitation to commit criminal homicide.

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Allegheny County police said they uncovered an elaborate criminal plot to intimidate victims, recruit witnesses to perjure themselves and to try to prevent the trial against Scherbanic on sexual-assault charges.

According to a criminal complaint, Scherbanic told his cellmate he’d pay him as much as $1 million to carry out the plan.

The five targets of the alleged murder plot were five separate victims of sexual assault cases filed against Scherbanic in 2016, police said.

Those cases involve juvenile male students of Scherbanic’s karate dojo, the “Tang Soo Do Karate College" in North Versailles.

The complaint said Scherbanic drew diagrams of one of the target’s homes to show his cellmate where a propane tank was that could “be exploded to kill multiple residents.”

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Scherbanic also identified people that his cellmate could recruit to help carry out the plot as well as hide the bodies, the complaint said.

There were also plans to destroy the creditability of someone who was going to testify against Scherbanic in the sex-assault trial. Sherbanic told his cellmate to “plant drugs, or a gun or possibly child porn,” the complaint said.

Scherbanic was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and indecent assault in those cases.

The complaint also alleged Scherbanic had been stashing ground up pain pills in his cell in case the plan did not work, so he could commit suicide.

The investigation was conducted with the assistance of the Jail Administrative Investigators and detectives from the district attorney’s office.

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