Former Chester County pastor jailed for impregnating teenage girl accused in murder-for-hire plot

EXTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A former pastor found guilty of raping and impregnating a teenage girl is now charged in connection with a murder-for-hire plot.

Pennsylvania State Police charged Jacob Malone, 37, with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and terroristic threats on Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint, Malone attempted to arrange for the murder of Pastor Harold Lee Wiggins and Common Pleas President Judge Jacqueline Cody while incarcerated at SCI Laurel Highlands.

Investigators say Malone tried to pay inmate Angelo Tomeo at SCI Phoenix $5,000 to murder Wiggins because he was a key witness in the case. Malone offered additional money to murder Cody since she rejected a lighter sentence in his case. Police said that the inmate reported the request to detectives.

State police said two months after offering Tomeo money, Malone approached his cellmate Anthony Yerger and said he wanted Yerger's help because "he wanted to get revenge on people involved in his case."

The cellmate allegedly told Malone to "drop it" and Malone agreed to "put it behind him."

Speaking on behalf of Pastor Wiggins, Pastor Mike Edelman said he and the rest of the church staff have forgiven Malone for his actions.

"We live in a world full of trouble of all kinds," said Edelman. "What he (Wiggins) shared with his staff was, 'let's stay focused, let's pray and allow the authorities to do what they've been called to do."

Malone is convicted of institutional sexual assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.

Malone was sentenced to serve three to six years.

The jury convicted Malone of sexually assaulting and impregnating a 17-year-old girl who came to live with his family in Chester County. Police said it began in September 2014, when the girl was 17.

The Rev. Bill Bateman says Malone worked at Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown for about 18 months before he resigned in November 2015.

Bateman says Malone resigned after church leaders learned the girl was pregnant and heard allegations that Malone had an inappropriate relationship with another female in another state.

In a statement, Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said, "The District Attorney's office is deeply concerned about these extremely serious allegations. Most importantly, we can confirm that the victims involved in this case are safe. We are committed to assisting the Pennsylvania State Police and the Somerset County District Attorney's Office in their investigation.

Malone is currently in SCI Phoenix and a preliminary hearing is not yet scheduled.
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