Crime

While in jail, he plotted to get a woman killed — here’s how long he’ll be in prison

Kurt Ebe, then 60, of Custer, appears in court in July 2016 on charges of dumping gasoline on a woman and lighting a match. He was sentenced Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court to 6¼ years in prison, with 1½ years probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit controlled substance homicide and second-degree assault.
Kurt Ebe, then 60, of Custer, appears in court in July 2016 on charges of dumping gasoline on a woman and lighting a match. He was sentenced Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court to 6¼ years in prison, with 1½ years probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit controlled substance homicide and second-degree assault. chutton@bhamherald.com

A Custer man who hatched a murder-for-hire plot while incarcerated in the Whatcom County Jail and also poured gasoline on a woman and her tent and lit a match will spend a little more than six years in prison.

Kurt Joseph Ebe, 63, was sentenced Thursday in Whatcom County Superior Court to 6¼ years in prison, with 1½ years probation, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit controlled substance homicide and second-degree assault.

Ebe, who was originally charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder and second-degree assault, was given a sentence longer than the standard range.

“After reviewing the evidence in this case, we did not agree with the defense position that this was merely ‘jail talk,’” Whatcom County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Richardson said in an emailed statement. “Anytime someone threatens the life of another person in our community, this office takes those threats seriously.”

Ebe’s defense attorney Tom Fryer asked that The Herald use his statements from court. The Herald has reached out to the court for a copy.

Around 11:30 p.m. on July 16, 2016, deputies responded to the 2200 block of Birch Bay-Lynden Road for an assault. A woman said she had been exchanging angry text messages with Ebe all day and that he accused her of stealing from him, which she denied, court records state.

Around 10 p.m., the woman said Ebe came home from work, yelled at her, then walked over and poured gasoline on her and her tent. Ebe then lit a match and let it burn before blowing it out, records state. The woman had been staying in a tent on Ebe’s property, records show. Deputies noted the woman smelled strongly of gasoline.

Ebe was charged with second-degree assault.

While he was awaiting trial for that case, Ebe offered another inmate in the Whatcom County Jail $25,000 to kill the woman and her boyfriend, according to court records.

In October 2016, an inmate in the same cell block as Ebe sent a note asking to talk with detectives. The man said Ebe was concerned he would be convicted at trial and was afraid to go to prison because of his age, court records state.

Ebe wanted the man to give the woman and her boyfriend a fatal mix of heroin and fentanyl, a far more potent synthetic opioid that has contributed to the rise in overdose deaths. Ebe also provided specifics for how to kill the couple and offered a weed eater as collateral until Ebe could pay the man the full amount, records state.

Ebe told the inmate how he was investigated for a fatal overdose in 2006, but was charged with drug delivery, not homicide, and served two years in prison, records show. The inmate was allowed to wear a wire around Ebe to confirm what he was telling deputies, court records state.

Ebe was later charged with conspiring to commit murder, court records state.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.
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