In Channel 4’s chilling new documentary How To Hire A Hitman, true crime obsessive Yinka Bokinni delves into the murky world of murder-for-hire sites.
The internet makes anything possible these days. At the click of a button, we can quickly find information, communicate with people around the world, manage our finances, do our shopping, watch all the entertainment our hearts desire, and much, much more.
However, being able to search for anything doesn’t always mean that enjoyment is the order of the day. In the darkest recesses of the internet, there are websites where people promise to carry out murder for the right price – and Channel 4 is about to shine a light on this very modern criminality with a new true crime documentary.
In the two-part series How To Hire A Hitman, true crime obsessive Yinka Bokinni investigates the disturbing websites that offer assassinations in exchange for payment in untraceable bitcoin.
But can you really order someone’s death online just like ordering your Friday night takeaway, or are these sites the work of scam artists? The truth is more complicated than it seems, so Bokinni sets off in search of the truth.
In the series, which airs back to back, Bokinni, who presented the documentary Damilola: The Boy Next Door about the murder of her her childhood friend Damilola Taylor, learn how to access the dark web after receiving hacked messages obtained from a murder-for-hire site revealing the names of hundreds of people who have had hits taken out against them.
The messages show that hundreds of people all over the world have been ordering hits online. And the customers ordering assassinations aren’t involved in gang activity, but seemingly ordinary people who want to see friends, partners and work colleagues dead.
After making contact with a site offering the services of Albanian assassins, Bokinni travels to America to look into cases where people have had hits taken out on them. Among them are Gabe Scott, whose ex-wife Kristy Lynn Felkins paid twelve bitcoin to a stranger through a website called Besa Mafia in 2016 to arrange for a hitman to kill him.
Scott lived to tell the tale because the site that Felkins used to arrange the services was a scam. After four months of communication with the site administrator to pay and arrange for the murder of her ex-husband, a hacker then exposed messages from the site and sent them to law enforcement.
Felkins was indicted in September 2020 and subsequently pleaded guilty to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire plot. If found guilty, she faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison.
Scott is still attempting to process the fact that his ex-wife tried to have him killed.
“It just happened to be this one didn’t work out,” he says in the documentary in reference to the scam site. “It is real to these people [who try to hire them]. They don’t know they’re being scammed”.
“Finding out someone hired a hit man and realising that that was there and that could happen…it seemed like…I just wanted to do more in life than just work and enjoy life later,” he continues. “Later might not come.”
While many murder-for-hite sites turn out to be scams, the intention of those ordering the illegal activity is very much for their target to die.
“This is like Joe down the road,” Bokinni told LAD Bible. “It’s me and you.
“These are regular people who are getting caught up in this dark, murky underworld.”
“It’s just incredible to see the reasons that people have, the excuses they come up with, and the way they justify trying to solicit murder on the dark web – that no one really understands anyway”.
How To Hire A Hitman airs back-to-back on Channel 4 from 10pm on Monday 20 June.
Images: Channel 4
Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.