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Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Ronald Samuels Murder-For-Hire Case

     In 1993, Heather Samuels, after five years of marriage to Ronald Samuels, a Pensacola, Florida car dealer who sold drugs and ran with other women, left him and returned to her parent's home in Minnesota. The six-foot-four inch, burly, Brooklyn born husband who was eighteen years older than his 26-year-old wife, immediately moved his girlfriend into the Samuels' house.

     A year later, the divorce became final. A Santa Rosa County judge awarded custody of the ex-couple's three children to Heather and ordered Ronald to pay Heather $3,000 a month in child support. Ronald, already angry over the fact he had wasted thousands of dollars in attorney's fees fighting the divorce, vowed to fight the child support order. He was not going to allow his ex-wife to raise the children, at his expense, in Minnesota.

     In 1995, Ronald married Deborah Love, the woman who had moved into the house in Pensacola following his separation from Heather. Ronald's resentment over the child custody situation turned to wrath in June 1997 when Heather married John Grossman, the son of Bud Grossman, the former part owner of the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings. Heather, the children, and her new husband, the heir to a multi-million dollar estate, moved from Minnesota to Boca Raton, Florida.

     With his ex-wife and her new husband living in south Florida, Ronald Samuels decided it was now possible to have them both murdered.

     After the divorce, Ronald Samuels sold his Toyota car dealership. He was now making his living selling cocaine, the proceeds of which he deposited in a bank in the Cayman Islands. In September 1997, Samuels paid Hugh Estes, a 50-year-old cocaine addict, $5,000 to arrange the double murder. Samuels told the former insurance company employee that his ex-wife was a gold-digger who had cheated on him before their divorce. Her husband, John Grossman, had to be killed because he was abusing the children.

     Hugh Estes, instead of using the hit money to buy a weapon and recruit an assassin, went on a cocaine binge. This forced Samuels to ask Geoffrey Pollock, another drug addict, for help. A week later, at a Denny's Restaurant, Pollock introduced Samuels to Eddie "Slim" Stafford, a third cocaine junkie who said he had found a trigger man, a former Army marksman named Roger Runyon. Stafford assured Samuels that Runyon, a competent, cold-blooded killer, would murder the ex-wife and her husband.

     At the Denny's meeting, Ronald Samuels provided Roger Runyon with murder-for-hire intelligence which included photographs of the targets, their address, a description of their cars, and an outline of their daily routines. Samuels' murder-for-hire team consisted of three drug-addled accomplices and a man he had just met who claimed to have been in the Army. The mastermind agreed to pay the accomplices in cocaine. Runyon was paid $5,000 down, and promised $20,000 when he completed the job.

     Late in the afternoon of October 14, 1997, as John and Heather Grossman sat at a traffic light in Boca Raton, Florida, Eddie "Slim" Stafford pulled up alongside the couple in Hugh Estes' 1996 green Ford Thunderbird. From the back seat of the Ford, Roger Runyon fired two rifle bullets into the Grossman vehicle. The first slug grazed John Grossman's chin, the second severed Heather Grossman's spine, paralyzing her for life.

     Ronald Samuel's hit team had bungled the job. The targets were still alive and the murder-for-hire mastermind instantly became the prime suspect in the attempted murders.

     The victims told investigators that they were certain that Ronald Samuels was behind the ambush. Shortly after the shooting, detectives traced the Ford Thunderbird to Hugh Estes who immediately gave up Stafford and Runyon. The accomplice and the hit man, in return for immunity, identified Ronald Samuels as the brains behind the botched murder plot.

     In May 1998, the drug addicts and the failed hit man appeared before a grand jury which promptly indicted Ronald Samuels on charges of attempted murder, solicitation of murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.

     Samuels, who had divorced his second wife Deborah, fled to Mexico to avoid arrest. In 1999, the police in the state of Neueno Leon, caught Samuels in possession of thirteen pounds of cocaine. Tried and found guilty, he was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2004, when Samuels walked out of the Mexican lockup, a pair of United States Marshals took him into custody on charges related to passport fraud. The officers hauled Samuels to New Orleans where he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison on the fraud case.

     Heather and John Grossman were divorced in 2003. She moved back in with her parents who had moved from Minnesota to Phoenix, Arizona. In February 2005, after serving his federal prison sentence in Louisiana, the authorities extradited Ronald Samuels to Palm Beach, Florida where he was scheduled to be tried on the Grossman attempted murder charges. Before the trial got underway in October 2006, John Grossman died of a heart attack. He was 55.

     The prosecutor in West Palm Beach offered Samuels a deal in return for his guilty plea. Samuels rejected the offer and the case went to trial. The government's key witnesses included accomplices Pollock, Estes, and Stafford, and the hit man, Roger Runyon. Heather, seated in a wheelchair and breathing with the help of a ventilator, took the stand as well. Samuel's second wife, Deborah, testified that the defendant really didn't care about his children. He simply didn't like paying child support to a woman he considered a gold-digger. The defendant's second wife described him as a man with a bad temper who threw a fit whenever he didn't get what he wanted.

     The Samuels defense centered around the idea that Roger Runyon and his three helpers were dregs of society without any credibility. The defense attorney portrayed his client as a victim of a wealthy and influential family's revenge for a crime that he did not commit. Against the advice of his attorney, Samuels took the stand and testified on his own behalf. Coming off as arrogant and hostile, he did not make a sympathetic witness. On October 31, 2006, the jury found the defendant guilty on all counts. The next day the judge sentenced Samuels to life in prison plus 120 years.

     Ronald Samuels and his drug-addled murder-for-hire team were stupid and sociopathic. The prosecutor, to convict Ronald Samuels, gave Roger Runyon, Hugh Estes, Eddie Stafford, and Geoffrey Pollock a free pass. In the world of murder-for-hire prosecutions, this is what passes for prosecutorial success and justice.

   

      

15 comments:

  1. This article is inaccurate. Ron Samuels was originally awarded custody of the children. Hate when details are left out of a story.

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  2. I'm not convinced that Ron was the mastermind. It's not too big of a stretch to think that John was the mastermind because he didn't have a pre-nup with Heather and he wanted out of the marriage. A couple of years after the shooting they divorced and I'm sure Heather came out of it with a nice chunk of change. That said, she has a blog up and on the blog she is asking for money. That is just gross. The woman is worth money, why does she need donations???

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    1. Kellie - you're just an idiot. Tell me how this woman is "worth money" ... then -- if you can do math in any form - add up what her medical care costs every day and then come back and tell us that she doesn't need money.

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    2. Kellie I hope this happens to you you are a vile piece of inhumanity

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    3. Seems odd that Kellie is a vile piece of inhumanity and NOT the person who "hopes" that Kellie becomes an abused quadriplegic...

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  3. I believe theres a god that judges just incase. Justices is blind here in the world.I believe Ron samuels got what he deserves, even though its not gonna bring heather samuels. Health back.

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  4. I bought a car from Ron Samuels Toyota in 1991. His employees were assholes and I felt bullied by them. I'm sure they were thugs just like their boss.

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  5. And what became of commercial spokeswoman JACKIE LYONS???

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    1. Who is Jackie Lyons and what does she have to do with this topic?

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  6. I think the shooter, Runyon, is a bike piece of crap. He lives in my small town claiming he's no saint but a changed man. Funny...you have to STOP doing drugs in order to change your demonic ways....asshole

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  7. Heather was never a golddigger; Ron was never awarded custody (however, Heather allowed them to live with him for one school year); He married Deborah in 1996 and SHE divorced him in 1998. He is evil, an abusive psychopath and sociopath and exactly where he belongs. He destroyed so many people's lives, including his own.

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  8. Ron Samuels was framed, Period! Dig back further and research the case.

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  9. Ron Samuels was 100% framed, My opinion it was her new husband, re-trail should be allowed and let him prove his innocence for once.

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  10. What TV show was the rial on?

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  11. I believe Ron samuels was framed by John Grossman

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