BEYOND BERGEN: A Pennsylvania woman is headed to state prison for 8½ years without parole after admitting today that she tried to hire an undercover New Jersey State Police investigator to kill her daughter’s ex-boyfriend and two other people close to him for $1,000.
Denise Marie Nagrodski, 52, of Easton, Pa., was “cruel and calculating in the way she planned the murders…directing that the boyfriend be burned alive in a fire that also would serve to destroy evidence,” acting state Attorney General John J. Hoffman said after she pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder and conspiracy in Trenton.
“Nagrodski wanted all of the murder and mayhem she could buy,” state Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig added. “Instead, she purchased a long stay in a state prison cell.”
Nagrodski agreed to a 10-year sentence in exchange for her plea to conspiring with an undercover NJSP investigator to commit the murders as revenge for what she said was the boyfriend’s abusiveness, which caused her daughter to miscarry twins.
All three intended victims — her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, his sister and the sister’s boyfriend — lived together in Somerset County, Hoffman said.
NYPD Intelligence alerted the NJSP last October of Nagrodski’s intentions, he said.
A member of the State Police Violent Organized Crime Control South Bureau posed as a hit man, and on Nov. 21, Nagrodski met him at the Phillipsburg Mall in Lopatcong, N.J., to outline how she wanted him to kill all three victims.
In a recorded conversation, she told the detective to “burn him alive” and “make sure he knew she was responsible,” the Attorney General said.
Nagrodski also asked that the boyfriend’s sister and the sister’s boyfriend each be shot twice in the forehead, “one for each twin” miscarried by her daughter, he said.
Ultimately, she agreed that the purported hit man should instead “bash in” the heads of those two victims and set their house on fire, because she couldn’t provide him with a gun. Then she gave him $500.
Before she left, he said, “Once you step out of the car, this is on.”
She replied, “I need it done.”
Nagrodski was arrested about 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 as she drove away from a second meeting with the undercover detective at the Phillipsburg Mall on Route 22.
She’d just provided the detective with photos of the intended victims, drew him a map to the house where she believed all of the victims lived, and paid him the $500 balance — again while being recorded, Hoffman said.
The investigation was led by Detective Gerard Tibbs of the New Jersey State Police Counter Terrorism Bureau. Deputy Attorneys General Michael A. Klein and Brandy Malfitano prosecuted the case and took the plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
Also participating in the investigation were the DCA, the NYPD Intelligence Division and the Pennsylvania State Police.
Nagrodski held on $2 million bail in the Warren County Jail pending sentencing on Oct. 16.
“This is not the first murder-for-hire that a New Jersey State Police undercover detective foiled while posing as a hit man,” NJSP Supt. Col. Rick Fuentes said. “These cases are always disturbing, but working cooperatively with our partner agencies, this grisly murder plot was stopped, and the woman responsible will now be spending a long time behind bars.”
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