Murder-for-hire plea expected Monday

November 23, 2013 

Dennis Zecca was originally expected to enter a plea on Nov. 14.

A Marathon man charged last December with murder for hire for allegedly hiring a hitman to kill a Realtor is expected to plead out in Miami federal court Monday morning.

Dennis Zecca, in his early 50s, had been scheduled to plead on Nov. 14 but got a last-minute delay for reasons unknown. Both the U.S. Attorney's Office and Zecca attorney William Aaron have declined comment.

Zecca, a former commander of U.S. Coast Guard Station Islamorada, is accused of hiring someone to kill Marathon Realtor Bruce Schmitt. Schmitt, who was not physically harmed, says he doesn't know Zecca.

Last January, Zecca pleaded not guilty to federal charges of murder for hire, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and transfer of a firearm to a convicted felon. Under those charges, Zecca was facing life.

Court filings don't say to what Zecca plans to plea when he goes before U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez at 10 a.m. Monday in District Court, in Courtroom 10-1 at 400 N. Miami Ave., Miami.

Zecca was arrested last Dec. 21 for allegedly attempting to pay an employee -- a federal informant who is a convicted felon -- $20,000 or a kilo of cocaine to murder Schmitt. No one has ever said what the incentive was.

Federal authorities say Zecca had "associates and co-conspirators in this offense" but have not said who they are. It's not known if any plea Zecca offers will be based on offering authorities information on who the "associates and co-conspirators" are.

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