Zecca, who admitted trying to hire a hitman to kill Realtor, gets another sentencing delay

April 12, 2014 

A former U.S. Coast Guard commanding officer who admitted to trying to hire a hitman to kill a Middle Keys Realtor has had his sentencing pushed back a second time.

Dennis Zecca, facing 10 years in federal prison, is now scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez at 1:30 p.m. July 2 in Courtroom 1 at 301 Simonton St., Key West.

The sentencing was previously set for Monday morning. Before that, it was set for March 25.

Zecca, a former commanding officer of Coast Guard Station Islamorada, admitted in federal court in November that he tried to hire a hitman to kill Marathon Realtor Bruce Schmitt (he was not injured). The hired gun turned out to be a federal informant.

In return for his guilty plea to murder for hire, the U.S. Attorney's Office dropped charges of 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.

After 26 years with the Coast Guard culminating with his Islamorada post, Zecca became part-owner of the Marathon Marina and Boatyard.

He was arrested Dec. 21, 2012, for 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, and Schmitt says he has no idea.

Federal authorities say the murder plot had "associates and co-conspirators in this offense" but have not said who they are. That information could come out at sentencing.

Zecca was arrested after the informant, who was wearing a wire for the feds, showed Zecca a doctored photo of Schmitt lying in a pool of blood and as Zecca was going to get $5,000 of the $20,000 payment for the hit.

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