In a recorded conversation between a Hillsborough County school teacher and his longtime friend, James Pepe makes it clear what he wants done with former colleague.
Pepe, 55, was arrested Thursday by officers with the Plant City Police Department. Investigators say he was plotting to harm a former colleague, Robert Meredith.
"What do you want done with Bob Meredith? I want him killed; Alright."
In an effort to keep the Bloomingdale High social studies teacher behind bars, the 11-minute conversation was played loudly through the courts microphone by prosecutors.
Pepe was in court early Saturday morning for a bond hearing.
During the recorded discussion several vulgar words and racial slurs are heard. Detectives allege the murder for hire plot was hatched by Pepe, who comes across as cold on the recordings.
Meredith teaches at Strawberry Crest High School in Hillsborough County. Last year both men taught social studies at the school.
According to investigators the suspect believed Meredith had been spreading nasty rumors about him. The alleged victim was not in court Saturday. Investigators say Meredith is concerned about his safety.
Police say Pepe believed Meredith had been spreading nasty rumors about him and wanted revenge.
A voice on the recording asks: "How do you want Meredith killed?"
Voice detectives say is Pepe: "Anyway he wants; I don't give a *&^%. Ok?"
The recorded phone conversation also makes reference to other possible targets. The pair also discusses who will carry out the deed.
After hearing from the defense and the prosecution Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Jack Espinosa Jr. denied to grant Pepe's request for bond.
Pepe has worked for the Hillsborough County School District since 1984. Following his arrest on Thursday he was suspended with pay by the district until the School Board rules on his case.
In the meantime he will remain behind bars at the Hillsborough County Jail.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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