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Springfield man released from prison 13 years early

A Springfield man convicted in a murder-for-hire plot in 2012 is out of prison, after serving 7 years of a mandatory 20-year sentence.

Posted: Dec 17, 2019 6:35 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2019 6:36 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield man who got out prison 13 years early said a dirty informant and a police officer are to blame for putting him there.

Gary Tiffee was sent to prison in 2012 after he pleaded guilty of trying to pay someone in a murder-for-hire plot. He said a Springfield police officer, Marco Espinoza, worked with an informant to make the situation far worse than it was.

Tiffee was supposed to serve a mandatory sentence of 20 years because he was convicted of a measure 11 crime. According to court documents, two of the charges, conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and solicitation to commit aggravated murder were recently thrown out.

His sentence on the attempted murder charge was changed to seven and a half years. Tiffee was released from prison on Nov. 1.

Tiffee admits he offered to pay the informant a few hundred dollars to beat a man, but he maintains he never wanted the man murdered. He said an informant wore a wire tap and Espinoza altered his words.

The target of the plot was never assaulted.

The informant wrote Tiffee several letters in jail and said they both "knew that cop was dirty and they both got played." The informant also told investigators, "at no time was there an agreement to murder the guy."

In a letter to Senior Assistant Attorney General Sam Cervera, Tiffee's attorney said, "there was a pattern of corrupt misconduct by officer Espinoza and the informant."

The allegations against the officer eventually came to light after Springfield Lt. Scott Mckee investigated the case and the Department of Public Safety and Standards got involved.

READ: LT. SCOTT MCKEE FILES INTENT TO SUE SPRINGFIELD POLICE

Tiffee didn't want to appear on camera, because he's trying to move forward but he told KEZI, "once I told them this was a corrupt police officer, they did an investigation and went to Scott McKee, who basically saved my life and got the FBI involved. They started doing an investigation and uncovered all this stuff that Espinoza was dirty and lying and stuff that I already knew, but nobody listened to me because once I was convicted of this crime, I was not credible from that point on."

We contacted the Lane County District Attorney's office and they referred us to the Department of Justice. We also contacted Springfield Police and are waiting to hear back.

Espinoza was fired in 2014 after he pleaded guilty to DUII.

McKee is on paid administrative leave from the Springfield police after accusations he lied during an internal investigation into fellow officer Ryan Stone, who himself was placed on leave, accused of using excessive force during a routine stop. Stone later returned to duty, while McKee has threatened to sue the department.

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