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Police Chief Was Target of Murder Plot

Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

September 17, 2010

HANOVER TWP. – Luzerne borough Police Chief Paul Bowman was the target of a murder plot planned by his estranged wife’s boyfriend, according to charges filed Thursday by state police.

State police at Wyoming said they arrested David George Vodzak, 39, of Butler Township, minutes after he outlined his scheme to kill Bowman to William Cleo Daniels on Wednesday night in Beer Bellies tavern on Dexter Street.

Vodzak offered Daniels $1,500 to be his driver when he wanted to kill Bowman within a day, state police alleged. State police said the conversation between Vodzak and Daniels inside the tavern was recorded.

Vodzak was arraigned in Wilkes-Barre Central Court on a single count of solicitation to commit criminal homicide. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $500,000 bail. Court records say Vodzak is the owner and operator of Vodzak Construction in Nanticoke.

Bowman and his estranged wife, Barbara Bowman, could not be reached for comment on Thursday. They filed for divorce on July 7, according to court records.

Vodzak and his estranged wife filed for divorce in October, court records indicate.

State police secured a search warrant for Vodzak’s SUV, where he claimed a shotgun would be found wrapped in a blanket. It remained unknown Thursday afternoon if a shotgun was found there.

According to the criminal complaint:

Daniels told state police Vodzak had approached him several times to assist him in killing a police officer. Daniels said he did not believe Vodzak was serious until Wednesday.

Daniels said Vodzak initially offered him $2,000 and raised it to $4,000 to drive him, suggesting he would use “buckshot” ammunition in the shooting. Vodzak provided details to Daniels about where to pick him up and where to get rid of a shotgun.

Vodzak said he told Daniels he had to kill Bowman himself because he could not raise enough cash to pay off a “hit man” he had hired.

Daniels agreed to meet Vodzak at Beer Bellies on Wednesday night to discuss final plans. Daniels wore a recording device monitored by state police when he met Vodzak at the tavern.

After the two men left the tavern, Daniels met with troopers while Vodzak was being followed by a surveillance team. After troopers listened to the recording, Vodzak was arrested during a traffic stop.

Vodzak admitted to state police that he has been seeing Bowman’s estranged wife for several months and had a confrontation with Bowman during the winter.

Vodzak said he met with Daniels at the tavern to talk about “taking care” of Bowman.

State police said Vodzak exposed his intentions to Daniels by offering him $1,500 to drive him to the Mountain Top area to find a location to shoot Bowman, adding he knew Bowman’s work and travel schedule.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Sept. 21 before District Judge Joseph Halesey in Hanover Township.

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