A Maryland district court has officially dismissed the murder-for-hire indictment against Ross Ulbricht.
The former creator and head admin of the darknet market Silk Road was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole back in 2015.
But Ulbricht’s case found its way back in the news after U.S. Attorney Robert Hur filed the motion to drop the pending allegations against Ulbricht pertaining to hiring a hitman for committing murder.
The dismissal was granted at the end of last month.
Ross Ulbricht’s History
Ulbricht created the Silk Road in 2011. The site was involved in selling a huge amount of illicit drugs, by facilitating several million drug transactions including cocaine, heroin and others.
Silk Road was one of the biggest darknet markets for buying and selling illegal drugs as well as other products and services.
According to prosecutors, Silk Road had generated an income to the tune of $213 million by means of sales and $13 million by way of commissions before the market was finally shut down by the police in 2013.
Ulbricht was arrested in a public library with his laptop, running the Silk Road website, as he was logged in to his account at the time. There were many chat logs present in the hard drive, which implicated him.
Authorities charged Ulbricht with several offenses in connection with operating the Silk Road, including money laundering, conspiracy to traffic narcotics and computer hacking.
He was also indicted for charges related to procuring murder, allegedly ordering six contracts for murder-for-hire. Ulbricht denied these allegations.
Ulbricht was first charged with six charges on murder for hire, with five of these never even going to court and the sixth charge has just been dismissed.
In late-July, U.S. Attorney Hur filed a motion to dismiss the murder-for-hire indictment against Ulbricht.
Free Ross, the campaign supporting Ulbricht’s appeal, later announced via Twitter that the judge had finished signing the motion and the charges against Ulbricht were officially dropped.
In addition, the charges also cannot be filed against Ulbricht again, as they were dismissed “with prejudice.”
These charges of murder-for-hire had been hanging over Ulbricht for the past five years. He made an appeal to the Supreme Court to rehear his case, but it was ultimately denied in June.
The murder-for-hire charges played a major role in Ulbricht’s trial and sentencing.
Will his initial conviction be overturned or changed in any way?
According to Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, his supporters and the Free Ross campaign are happy with the dismissal of this charge, as it was only this murder-for-hire charge that was specifically harmful to his case.
It could have prejudiced the judge into giving him the harsh life sentence.
Appealing the Life Sentence
Last month, Ulbricht’s supporters at the Free Ross campaign launched a petition for appealing the life sentence after it was denied by the Supreme Court.
The end goal of the petition is to get a presidential pardon for Ulbricht’s sentencing.
Many organizations, such as the National Lawyers Guild and the Gun Owners of America, supported Ulbricht’s petition against the life sentence.
After the Supreme Court denied Ulbricht’s appeal request, the Libertarian Party has restated their commitment to Ulbricht’s case at an annual convention held last month by putting out a resolution urging President Trump to pardon him.
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