James Pepe, Florida Teacher, Accused of Trying to Hire Hit Man to Kill Another Teacher
"Doctor Professor Pepe" (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)
Being a teacher takes up a lot of one's time. There's barely time to chitchat, let alone have conversations to iron out some misunderstandings. So naturally, the best thing to do in that situation is hire a hit man to murder the fellow teacher you've got a beef with. Pretty simple solution, really.
At least that's allegedly Hillsborough County social studies teacher James Pepe's philosophy.
Pepe, a 55-year-old Bloomingdale High teacher, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly attempting to put out a hit on a former coworker, according to police.
In a phone call placed September 13, Pepe offered an undercover cop posing as a hit man $2,000 for "an issue he might need taken care of." The target was fellow teacher Robert Meredith, who once worked with Pepe at Strawberry Crest High School.
The investigation was launched in August when cops caught wind of Pepe's fixation with rubbing out Meredith.
That's when the FBI was called in to tap phone calls between Pepe and the undercover officer.
"It had moved beyond just a fixation to an actual anger," a spokesperson for the Plant City Police Department told ABC News.
Meredith told ABC news that he knew of Pepe but did not socialize with him and had no idea why he would be targeted.
Pepe reportedly told the undercover cop that he and Meredith were once best friends but had a falling-out. He accused Meredith of spreading rumors about his being a child molester.
Meredith denied the accusation and claims he's never had any harsh words or any kind of beef with Pepe.
Pepe had worked for the Hillsborough school district for 28 years. Students at Bloomingdale say he liked for them to call him "Doctor Professor Pepe."
Pepe is being held at Hillsborough County jail on one charge of solicitation to commit murder. He was not offered bail.
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