Arizona Woman Sentenced to 99 Years in Catfish Murder Scheme

( – An Alaska woman, Denali Dakota Skye Brehmer, aged 23, has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for her role in a murder-for-hire scheme. The plot involved the killing of her “best friend,” 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, during a hike in 2019.

Brehmer, then 18, engaged in an online relationship with Darin Schilmiller, 21, who claimed to be a millionaire. Schilmiller promised Brehmer $9 million if she killed someone and provided him with videos and photos of the murder. Brehmer convinced four other friends to assist in the murder, offering them a share of the money. The victim, Hoffman, was lured on a hike by another individual, Kayden McIntosh, 16, and was shot in the back of the head. Hoffman’s body was then dumped into a river.

Brehmer pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in February 2023, leading to the maximum penalty of 99 years. Schilmiller, now 25, was also sentenced to 99 years in January. He pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit murder in the first degree and faced additional charges for soliciting child pornography from Brehmer. Another individual, Caleb Leyland, 19 at the time of the murder, will be sentenced in June for his involvement.

The sentencing comes after the murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated through online deception, where Schilmiller posed as a wealthy individual named “Tyler.” Brehmer, believing the deception, carried out the plot that resulted in Hoffman’s tragic death. Prosecutors highlighted the severity of Brehmer’s crime, emphasizing the lasting impact on the lives of those involved. Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson called Brehmer’s actions “tragic and senseless,” describing the murder-for-hire plot as calculated and cold, and carried out with frightening precision. The case sheds light on the dangers of online deception leading to real-life consequences and highlights the need for accountability in such crimes.

The sentencing underscores the devastating consequences of online manipulation and the tragic loss of life in a plot driven by deception and betrayal.

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