Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ruthann Aron: A Deadly Campaign

Murders-for-Hire

Similar .38-caliber Detective Special Revolver
Similar .38-caliber Detective Special Revolver

Despite the chance at a new trial, Ruthann felt embittered. She knew that Kahn would likely get the chance to testify again at a new trial, which she knew would probably destroy her case. There's little doubt that she might have given up hope of winning because she had been defeated in almost every lawsuit she had ever faced. Her many legal losses, coupled with the fact that she failed at the primary race and, to make matters worse, that her relationship with her husband was crumbling, was likely all too much for Ruthann to bear. She had reached her breaking point, culminating in a ruthless murder-for-hire plan that investigators were just beginning to unravel. They just needed more evidence.

Ruthann Aron
Ruthann Aron

At the next available chance, Mossburg was wired with a microphone and asked to continue contact with Ruthann, feigning interest in helping her accomplish her vengeful scheme. At Ruthann's request, their next meeting was at a local shooting range where she often practiced her favorite hobby, firing off her .38-caliber Detective Special revolver. It was one of many firearms she allegedly collected. To Mossburg's surprise, at the time of their meeting, she was actually getting fitted for a new Beretta shotgun.

During their taped June 7th conversation, Mossburg told her that he knew of the ideal person to carry out the murder and he provided her with a number. Even though she often came across as paranoid for fear she might somehow get caught, revenge eclipsed her feelings of consternation, leading her to take the great risk of calling the unknown assassin who, unbeknownst to her was undercover police officer, Detective Terry Ryan.

Detective Terry Ryan
Detective Terry Ryan

The next day, Ruthann drove to a strip mall and placed a call at a pay phone to Ryan, who posed as a hit man. During a monitored conversation, Ryan agreed to Ruthann's wishes of carrying out a murder for $10,000, which would be paid after Ruthann saw the victim's name in the obituary of the newspaper. To be sure that he understood who he was supposed to murder, she carefully spelled out the intended target's name, "K-A-H-N," first name "Arthur."

In the days that followed, investigators collected up to fifteen tapes of conversations between Ruthann and Mossburg, and her and Ryan. What was astounding was that during one of the conversations with Ryan, Ruthann suddenly added another name to the top of the murder list: her husband of 30 years — Barry Aron. She agreed to pay yet another $10,000 cash after seeing his name in the obituaries. During the phone call she was adamant about one thing: she wanted the murder to look like an accident.

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