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Roundup man accused of plotting to kill mother

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- An 18-year-old Roundup man is accused of offering an undercover FBI agent $10,000 to murder his mother and another man. Matthew Russell Campbell appeared in federal court Wednesday after FBI agents arrested him the previou...

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- An 18-year-old Roundup man is accused of offering an undercover FBI agent $10,000 to murder his mother and another man.

Matthew Russell Campbell appeared in federal court Wednesday after FBI agents arrested him the previous day at the Billings Prerelease Center, where he was being held on a probation violation for an unrelated offense.

A criminal complaint says he had cell phone conversations with the agent about a murder-for-hire plot targeting Dana Campbell, also of Roundup, and an unidentified 18-year-old man from Arizona. FBI agent Eric Barnhart declined to discuss the investigation.

The complaint says Campbell and an undercover agent met in Billings on Monday to discuss murder arrangements after talking earlier on the phone. Campbell allegedly agreed to pay the agent $10,000 and told him his family had received a large inheritance from his recently deceased grandfather.

The complaint did not say how Campbell came to the FBI's attention.

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Dana Campbell, who operates Affordable Autos in Billings, told The Billings Gazette on Wednesday that FBI agents informed her about three weeks ago they were investigating a murder-for-hire plot, but they did not tell her who wanted her dead. The FBI told her Tuesday it was her son.

"I almost vomited," she said. "I was in shock. I couldn't believe it. He would have been the last person that would have crossed my mind."

She said she did not know what could have motivated the alleged plot, but she guessed it had to do with money.

The complaint says the younger Campbell told the agent some of the money was in a safe in his mother's house along with some high-quality rifles. The teen also is accused of drawing a map to the home and Affordable Autos.

The complaint also says he discussed making up an alibi for himself on the date the murder would occur, which was not specified.

Campbell, whose arraignment is set for Monday, was convicted of theft in Musselshell County and was sentenced in February to seven years, all suspended. He was sentenced in June to the state Department of Corrections for violating his probation.

Dana Campbell said Wednesday her son got into drugs and started stealing cars about two years ago.

She said "he kept telling us he was going to turn his life around" and always ended their conversations by saying, "I love you, Mom."

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