Who Were the Four Suspects Arrested in Tahereh Ghassemi’s Murder-for-Hire Case?


Dateline NBC’s upcoming episode will delve into Tahereh Ghassemi’s murder-for-hire case and the involvement of her ex-husband in the same. The episode, titled “The Ultimate Betrayal,” airs on the network this Thursday, November 30, 2023, at 10 p.m. ET.

According to WAFB Channel 9, Tahereh Ghassemi’s ex-husband, Hamid Ghassemi, paid three men $10,000 to murder her. The hired hitmen kidnapped the victim, put her in the trunk of her, and fatally shot her in the head. Following this, they buried her body in a wooded area in St. Helena Parish. They then torched her car on Chalma Avenue near Choctaw Drive, Baton Rouge.

Investigators arrested all four suspects, including Tahereh’s ex-husband, for their roles in the crime. The three hitmen—Daniel Richter, Tyler Ashpaugh, and Skyler Williams—pleaded guilty to their roles. The mastermind of the murder-for-hire plot, Hamid, stood trial earlier this year in August. A jury found him guilty of first-degree murder.

Tahereh Ghassemi’s murder-for-hire: How did detectives solve the case?

WAFB Channel 9 reported that investigators used cell phone and cell tower records to place Hamid Ghassemi at Tahereh Ghassemi’s house on the night she disappeared. The same records later placed him at the location where her burned car was found as well as at her burial site. Moreover, the phone records revealed that Hamid received a call from Tyler Ashpaugh on April 12, 2015, at 12:45 a.m.

The outlet further stated that detectives arrested Ashpaugh and a second suspect named Skyler Williams in May 2015. The two admitted to committing the crime on Hamid’s orders. They claimed that he paid them $10,000 to execute the plan and even provided them with gasoline to burn Tahereh’s car.

Ashpaugh, Williams, and Richter faced first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, and arson charges. All three pleaded guilty to their respective roles. Ashpaugh died in prison while Richter agreed to testify at Hamid Ghassemi’s trial for Tahereh Ghassemi’s murder-for-hire.

WBRZ-TV reported that Daniel Richter testified at Hamid’s August 2023 trial, admitting to the jurors how he lined up his two accomplices. He said, “Hamid asked me if I could help with a situation with his wife.” The convict then laid out a timeline, claiming that they first kidnapped and then shot Tahereh to death. The hitman also alleged that the accused had once spoken to him about killing the ex-wife as well as their son, Hamed.

In his testimony, Richter claimed that Tyler Ashpaugh shot the 54-year-old woman in the head with a .22-caliber revolver. He further testified that burying the victim was his idea since Hamid had asked him to ensure that nobody could find the body. 

Court documents reportedly revealed that Tahereh and Hamid had divorced recently. Their son described the ordeal to be a difficult and lengthy process that lasted for many years. Per WAFB Channel 9, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux stated that Hamid owed the victim more than $1 million and two homes as part of the divorce settlement.

Eight years later, a jury found 72-year-old Hamid guilty of first-degree murder for plotting Tahereh Ghassemi’s murder-for-hire. He received a life sentence. Previously, all three hired hitmen had pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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