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Philadelphia Jury Finds Man Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Plot

PHILADELPHIA (August 15, 2022) — James Haines (DOB: 03/07/1991) was convicted by a Philadelphia jury last week of First Degree MurderCriminal Solicitation of Murder, Conspiracy, and Criminal Use of Communication Facility (F3) for organizing a drug-related murder-for-hire plot with two other individuals that resulted in the death of 27-year-old Kristian Eldridge.Investigators determined that Haines hired Aaron Page and Edwin Martinez to carry out a drive-by shooting that targeted Eldridge, who was fatally shot on the afternoon of February 17, 2020 in the city’s Nicetown section as the victim was getting into his vehicle. Using video surveillance footage that captured the rental vehicle used by Page and Martinez, a forensic analysis of that vehicle conducted by an expert with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that revealed crucial GPS and related data, and call detail records, investigators obtained arrest warrants for the two assailants. As agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and Philadelphia Police Department Homicide detectives served an arrest warrant at Page’s residence on June 18, 2020, he barricaded himself inside and subsequently committed suicide. The other assailant, Edwin Martinez, is awaiting extradition from New Jersey to Philadelphia to be held accountable for his role in Eldridge’s murder. Authorities also believe Page and Martinez were involved in additional murder plots that are still under investigation.

After conducting a court-authorized search of a cell phone found at Page’s residence, investigators painstakingly uncovered additional evidence in the form of text messages and CashApp data that revealed more details of the murder plot, including cash payments made to Page from Haines. Haines was arrested on July 29, 2020. Upon conducting a search of the defendant’s residence, investigators discovered nearly $34,000 in cash, multiple loaded firearms, cell phones, and laptops. At his trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict in less than a day.“I’m grateful to Assistant District Attorney Helen Park for her skillful and thorough prosecution of Mr. Haines,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. “I also commend Philadelphia Police Detectives Lucke and Daly for their excellent investigation, as well as the panel of jurors who delivered justice for Mr. Eldridge’s family and communities across Philadelphia. And finally, investigations like this one highlight why further expansion of law enforcement’s forensic capabilities is so critical for holding those who commit serious and violent crimes accountable.”

“As a result of Mr. Haines and his co-conspirators heinous actions, Mr. Eldridge leaves behind a grieving family,” said ADA Helen Park of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Homicide and Non-Fatal Shooting Unit. “They are, however, able to feel a modicum of peace knowing that one of the individuals responsible for their loved one’s murder has been brought to justice. I thank Philadelphia Police Department Homicide detectives for their methodical and tireless investigation in this case.”Haines was sentenced by the Hon. Glenn B. Bronson to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

CONTACT:Dustin Slaughter, 215-686-8713, [email protected]Below are photos of Mr. Eldridge as provided by his family for use by the news media.

 

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.