Federal Appellate Court Upholds 35-Year Murder-For-Hire Sentence
The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld the 35-year sentence of a Cheyenne man who wanted to have someone kill his adoptive parents for their insurance money and house worth $850,000, according to court documents.
Andrew Silicani pleaded guilty in April 2015 to four identical counts of using the mail in a murder-for-hire scheme, and Chief U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal sentenced him in July to 35 years imprisonment.
He appealed the sentence soon after the sentencing. His attorneys argued the district court should have ordered a mental evaluation for him and that his sentence is unreasonable.
Court documents say he had a difficult upbringing including violence in elementary school, drug abuse, stealing, and threatening to harm his father.
However, federal prosecutors responded in March that nothing in the court record indicated his mental health issues caused him to violate the law, and in fact he behaved well in federal custody.
Silicani’s sentence, which is far more than the minimum he could have received, also is reasonable in light of two stabbings in early 2011 and the murder-for-hire plot, prosecutors said. “‘In short, Silicani has repeatedly showed utter disregard for the value of human life and suffering, whether his parents’ or complete strangers’. Far from being capricious or whimsical, Silicani’s 420-month sentence is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.”
The appellate court agreed. "We see no abuse of discretion in the district court's imposition of the lengthy sentence here," the circuit judges wrote.
They also cited some of Freudenthal's comments at his sentencing:
"Your mother, who stood by you through the entire course of your life, ... not only poured resources in terms of mental health resources, but even while you were in prison sent money and gifts, purchased items for you on demand. And to have this the mindset that you come away with to plan such a heinous offense, really with no apparent interest in anything other than the greed and receiving money. For what? For a new car? For ten tattoos and drugs?
"To exchange a life for such juvenile desires is hard to comprehend. And to then express that you really don't care if there's suffering involved is even harder to comprehend. And to make matters worse, as though they could be worse, to talk about taking a similar action against your father, who I understand you've had issues with, but apparently he wasn't first on your list because you didn't know whether he had any resources that would ever come your way. I'm not sure. This to me is impossible, impossible to understand."