Prosecutor: Ex-Youth Volunteer Tried To Have Witnesses Killed

Man Offered Inmate $50,000 For Killings, Officials Say

A former Salvation Army youth volunteer awaiting trial on charges of child molestation tried to arrange to have the witnesses and other people in the case killed, prosecutors said.

Conspiracy to commit murder charges were filed Thursday against Jonathan Hartman, 30, 6News' Jennifer Carmack reported.

Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said Hartman talked with another inmate, Matthew Parker, about killing up to 13 witnesses, but that Parker tipped off police.

"In addition to killing the witnesses, Hartman also contracted to kill a child of one of the witnesses that Hartman believed to be his," Cooper said. "He believed that child to be his. Therefore, the DNA in that child would incriminate him."

The elaborate scheme unfolded over the course of about a month, Cooper said.

"Hartman is accused of arranging for a friend to release a gun to the co-conspirator inmate upon his release," Cooper said. "This gun was to be used in the killings and (to) serve as a down payment for the killings."

According to a probable cause affidavit, Hartman offered to pay the inmate $50,000 when the killings were completed.

Cooper said Hartman's scheme fell apart when the other inmate went to police, and authorities recorded conversations he had with Hartman about the planned killings.

Hartman was held Thursday without bond in the Johnson County Jail. He was charged in the molestation cases in April 2009. Prosecutors said Hartman molested the victims over the course of three years, until each of them was age 15.

Police said the sexual encounters happened at the church, in Hartman's Indianapolis home and at another home in Franklin.

Salvation Army spokesman Jeff Stanger said the first charges were stunning, but the most recent accusations are horrific.

"I was shocked," he said. "It sounds like something out of a made-for-TV movie, not reality."