The Christopher Wells Murder-For-Hire Case

    Unlike what we see on TV and in the movies, few real-life murder-for-hire cases involve highly trained, professional contract killers. Most murder-for-hire cases consist of either emotionally unstable or desperate, sociopathic m…

    Unlike what we see on TV and in the movies, few real-life murder-for-hire cases involve highly trained, professional contract killers. Most murder-for-hire cases consist of either emotionally unstable or desperate, sociopathic masterminds who hire rank amateurs who almost always botch the job. Identifying a mastermind is one of the easiest assignments a homicide detective will get. Masterminds are most commonly motivated by love, lust, money, rage and/or hatred. They come in all walks of life and often don't have criminal histories. Mothers hire hit men to kill cheerleading coaches, husbands hire losers to kill estranged wives to avoid the cost of divorce, life insurance beneficiaries put out murder contracts on the insured, and teenagers and young adults have parents killed in order to inherit their estates. These cases are not only shockingly common, they are intriguing because of the variety of motives and people involved. Every day someone is arrested for soliciting a contract murder. Most of these masterminds are caught before the homicide is completed because the "hit men" don't realize the people they are talking to are in reality undercover detectives. All of these mastermind/hit-man conversations (many of which take place in Wal-Mart parking lots) are caught on audio and video tape providing detailed insight into the anatomy of this crime.


     In August 2010, Amara Wells, the 39-year-old wife of 49-year-old Christopher Wells, declared that she wanted a divorce. The couple lived with their six year old daughter in Monument, Colorado. The day after he received this news, Christopher destroyed $1000 worth of his wife's wardrobe. She and the little girl fled to Castle Rock, Colorado where they took up residence with Amara's sister-in-law and her husband. Within days of the separation, Amara filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order, informing the authorities that she feared for her life. The restraining order did not stop Christopher Wells from stalking and harassing his wife.

     On February 22, 2011, El Paso County (Colorado) police arrested Christopher for violating the restraining order. Instead of posting bail, he chose to remain in custody overnight. That evening someone entered the Castle Rock home and brutally murdered Amara and her sister-in-law's husband. They were beaten, stabbed and shot at close range. Amara's six year old discovered the bodies at three in the morning on February 23. At the time of the killings, Amara's sister-in-law was away on business.

     A few weeks after the double murder, the police arrested Christopher Wells for mastermining the two homicides. Wells and his accomplices, Josiah Sher, Matthew Plake, and Micah Woody had been employed at the Rocky Mountain Auto Brokers in Colorado Springs. Wells stood accused of paying 26-year-old Josiah Sher of Calhan, Colorado, $20,000 for the murder of Amara and her family. Sher's two helpers were charged with buying the weapons, planning the hit, driving the hit man to the scene, and disposing of the evidence. Woody and Plake were each paid $15,000 for their roles in the murders.

     The accused hit man, Josiah Sher, had been arrested in July 2005 for assault, domestic violence, and harassment. Five years later police arrested him for speeding, driving with a revoked license, and being a habitual offender. At the time of this arrest, he was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves.

     Christopher Wells, a hot-tempered drug user, had a history of violence himself. Thirteen years earlier he had asked a cellmate in Fairfax County, Virginia to burglarize his ex-girlfriend's home, and in the process beat her up. Wells gave the cellmate, Richard DeLilly, a checklist detailing the M.O. along with a hand-drawn map of the target's neighborhood and a blueprint of the interior of her home. Wells told DeLilly to take what he wanted then destroy the woman's furniture. Instead of going through with the criminal assignment, De Lilly went to the police. The intended victim told the officers that he, a former Chippendales dancer who did odd jobs and abused methamphetamine, wouldn't take no for an answer. He had called her incessantly, damaged her pickup and jammed the lock on her front door. She considered him wierd and dangerous.

     On September 14, 2011, a judge ruled that the prosecutor in the Castle Rock double murder had sufficient evidence against Wells and the other three to hold the defendants without bond until their separate trials. They were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and felony murder. All of the defendants are eligible for the death penalty.

   On January 31, 2012, the Douglas County District Attorney's Office announced that prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty against 27-year-old Josiah Sher, the suspected hit man. Two weeks later, Christopher Wells entered a plea of not guilty in a Douglas County Court.

     In March 2012, Micah Woody and Matthew Plake each pleaded guilty to  two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Both men agreed to testify against Christopher Wells and Josiah Sher. The judge sentenced each man to 48 years in prison.

     On January 30, 2014, Christopher Wells and his hit man, Josiah Sher, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. The judge sentenced both men to life in prison.