State police make arrest in murder-for-hire plot

Posted at: 11/26/2012 6:34 PM
By: Kumi Tucker

PRINCETOWN -- Police say this 1983 BMW belongs to an alleged hitman, and that inside they found everything needed for a murder-for-hire:  weapons and tools, as well as documents with the identities of the intended victims, their families and their various locations.

Police say 23-year-old Tanner Ruane and 41-year-old Mark Staake, both from Albuquerque, traveled to Vermont to kill two men in the St. Albans area.

New York State Police were contacted by New Mexico State Police about the murder-for-hire plot, and they say they caught Ruane at the Pilot Truck Stop on Route 7 in Rotterdam last week.

Staake happened to have been picked up the day before at the Vermont-Canada border on a felony probation violation, and authorities say it appears that Ruane was coming back alone from Vermont without carrying out the murders.

Investigators believe the pair was hired by a convicted rapist and murderer, a man Staake got to know while in prison, 45-year-old Dana Martin.

Police say Martin is now serving two life sentences for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Barre, Vermont.

In 2000, DeAndra Florucci was lured from her high school, tortured and killed.

Trevor Whipple, now the South Burlington police chief, was head of the Barre police at the time.  He spoke about the case today.

"It was remarkable in the fact that it was a very young woman who was the victim.  Certainly it was, any homicide, particularly one of a young high school age woman, DeAndra was still in high school at the time, was very upsetting to the community," said Chief Whipple. 

Police would not comment on the relationship between Martin and the two intended victims in Vermont, on why he wanted them dead or if they had anything to do with the Florucci murder case, also in Vermont.

But now, this case may have even bigger implications.  We're told that through this murder-for-hire investigation, police have developed information that Martin could be involved in the disappearance of other victims throughout the country.