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Robinson said he was "just playing" when he said his brothers could get rid of Betty Sandler, but Glenn was serious enough that he set a price, $25,000, and warned Robinson that he'd tried to have Betty killed and been burned before.
On September 30, his birthday, Robinson splurged and got a room for the night at the Hilton. Sandler came by with a $5,000 deposit in small bills, and even brought a gift: a Sirius satellite radio. They talked about how Robinson and his brothers would kill Betty the following Thursday, by slamming into her car at an intersection.
No one will ever know whether Robinson would have done anything to Betty, because before that Thursday came, police showed up at the Super 8 on Hypoluxo Road and picked Robinson up on an outstanding, unrelated warrant. A few days later, from his jail cell, Robinson summoned a detective and said Betty Sandler's life was in danger.
Fred knew he had to act quickly. Glenn Sandler could be seeking Robinson's replacement. It had to be him. "The most important thing about a murder for hire is getting hired," he said later. So he led Robinson to a phone at the jail's intake area.
"Listen," Robinson said when he had Sandler on the line. "The people that are going to throw this party, they want to go ahead and get this done."
The Fifth Amendment states that no individual "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." It doesn't protect people from statements they make against themselves while they're surreptitiously recorded, as Glenn Sandler was on the day he met "Fred."
An undercover officer from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office who is also assigned to an FBI task force, "Fred" agreed to talk to New Times on the condition that the paper not use his real name and other identifying details. He was already thinking ahead when he pulled into the Office Depot parking lot for his first meeting with Glenn Sandler, on October 12, 2005. He would let Glenn build his own trap. He merely brought two tools to help: a microphone and mad improvisational skills.
As the meeting began, Fred eyed Glenn suspiciously. "This is awkward for me, brother," he said, "I don't usually meet people."
"I don't either," Glenn shot back.
Glenn had already tried to have his wife killed a few months earlier. He'd hired a hit man who took a $5,000 deposit and disappeared. Betty was alive and well. Then he hired Chris Robinson and shelled out another $5,000 -- and then Robinson got tossed in jail. And Betty was still walking around, feeling fine.
Then Robinson called and said he'd arranged to have his boss and supplier finish the job.
Fred was obligated to take over the job and assume Robinson's debt, he told Glenn. He'd whack Betty for $25,000, minus the $5,000 Glenn had paid Robinson.
"Chris has become a real fuck-up for me lately," Fred lamented. "And I don't know what to do about it."
Those words landed on sympathetic ears. Glenn was tired of Robinson too! "Every time I turn around, he's costing me money," Glenn said. Even after pocketing the five grand, Robinson had had the gall to ask Glenn for money to hire an attorney. And Betty! "She's trying to fucking extort me."
"Fuck, they all do, bro," Fred said casually. "She's got a vagina -- what do you expect?"
This guy understood. So Glenn fired up his machismo: In the early '80s, he bragged, he moved drugs in and out of Miami with speedboats. One time, he said, he'd faced 30 years in prison but got off by bribing the judge for $12,000. "I have my own fucking airplane. I do domestic fucking flights. I used to do overseas. I've been flying for 20 years." He made trips to grass landing strips all over the country, he said. "That's what I fucking do. Aside from all the legit shit."
"I understand," Fred said. Glenn was making a business offer.
If Fred chose to collaborate and help him get back in the game, "things could turn out well for everybody," Glenn said. But he had to get rid of "this fucking cunt" who knew he had more money than he could explain to the IRS. "She's blackmailing the shit out of me. I can't fucking deal with her at all. She wants so much fucking money -- money I don't even have, you know?"
Fred took control. First things first: "The way this party is supposed to happen is bullshit." Robinson's plan had been to take two stolen cars, smash into Betty at an intersection, and flee. She wouldn't even necessarily die. "Six feet and 12 bags of lime is how this happens, period."
Calcium oxide, or lime, is a key ingredient in composting. It can be found at any garden store. Used sparingly in thin layers, it hastens the release of nutrients in bones as they decompose. Stick some seeds in there and you could have a 14-inch string bean. Pile enough lime on a corpse and even the teeth will dissolve.
Glenn wasn't concerned with such details. "I just want her fucking gone," he said.