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'Butt-Dial' Uncovers Murder Plot


Anyone whose cell phone has accidentally dialed a number without the owner's knowledge understands how potentially embarrassing the situation can be. Dubbed the "butt-dial" because it typically occurs when a phone is in the owner's back pocket, the accidental phone call allows the recipient of the call to hear the conversation of the user who does not know that his or her phone has placed a call.

In most cases, the "butt-dial" is benign, with the call recipient hearing only ambient noise and realizing that there is no one on the other end. In some cases, though, a call recipient may discover all kinds of useful and embarrassing information from the conversation of the person who inadvertently placed the call. They may learn of a caller's true feelings about a situation, of his or her personal medical issues, or even discover a spouse's affair. In some cases, the butt-dial can reveal criminal activity.

Last week, an Arkansas man was the recipient of an accidental phone call from his former boss, who owed him money. Upon hearing the conversation of Larry Barnett and an unidentified man, the James Macom learned he was the subject of a murder-for-hire plot. Larry Barnett and the hitman were discussing the details of the hit.

Barnett told the hitman, "I don't care if you have to burn his house to the ground with him in it, make it look like an accident." He gave the other man Macom's personal information and address, saying, "I owe the little son of a (expletive) a bunch of money and if he's gone, I don't have to pay it". Macom learned not only that he was the target of a murder plot, but also that Barnett had already tried to have him killed, but "couldn't get the job done." Barnett offered to pay the hitman $5,000 upfront and the remainder of the fee after Macom was killed.

Macom called police to report the incident, and by the time he returned home, his house had already been burglarized and his gas line tampered with.

Police arrested Barnett, who allegedly admitted to accidentally calling the targeted victim and to discussing his phone number and address with the person alleged to be a hitman.

Barnett is not the only person to have his criminal escapades foiled by the butt-dial. In May of this year, two men accidentally called 9-1-1 as they discussed committing burglary in order to buy drugs. The 9-1-1 operator remained on the line as the men burglarized a vehicle, and police were dispatched to their location. An August Listverse article lists ten criminals who were caught when they pocket-dialed police. Among their crimes are drug deals, drug possession, and burglary.

There are all kinds of ways to get caught committing a crime, but inadvertently calling police on yourself or accidentally calling your intended victim are two of the quickest.

No matter how dire your predicament seems, a skillful defense attorney can help. Schedule your free consultation today.

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