Rockefeller Auguste of Canarsie worked as a designer at a Manhattan architectural firm, and brooded. He had given his young wife a lavish wedding, a “diamond-encrusted” ring worth $27,000, and his heart, but she had betrayed him, or so he believed. He beat her up and she moved out, reported Auguste to the police for domestic abuse, and went into hiding.
Presumably Mrs. Auguste gave police the idea that her estranged husband was capable of further mischief, and they kept close enough watch on him that when Auguste went looking for a hitman, the NYPD arranged to have their own candidate meet with him.
Auguste told the undercover cop that he would pay him $5,000 to murder his wife and bring back to him the $22,000 ring. But Auguste knew, either from experience or detective novels, that hitmen could be unreliable, so he required proof that the hitman had actually hit, and had not merely contracted with his wife to turn in the ring and say she was dead. Auguste told the cop to also deliver to him his wife’s severed hand. He was paying $5,000, after all, and deserved more than hearsay evidence.
Auguste gave the cop a “samurai sword” with which to carry out the job, which along with his cash deposit was enough evidence for the NYPD, which arrested Auguste for conspiracy to commit murder, says the New York Daily News.