Ex-cop from Mississippi and his friend face extradition to the Netherlands after being ‘hired as hitmen to kill a struggling farmer over unpaid debt’
Former Forrest County sheriff’s deputy William Lyle Johnson, 34, and his New Jersey friend Jacob Mazeika, 38, face extradition to the Netherlands over claims they were hired for a hit on a struggling farmer in Holland
Court docs state that the two Americans hired by businessman Lukas Flecker to kill Thomas Schwarz , an organic farmer who owed him some money
Thomas Schwarz, 30, was found dead at his home in Bergen on Nov 26, 2019
He had been stabbed and his throat slashed; his ‘door handle stained with blood’
The men remain in jail while the extradition case is ongoing
A former Mississippi copand his New Jersey friend face extradition to the Netherlands over claims they were hired as hitmen to kill a struggling farmer over his debts.
Dutch police found Thomas Schwarz dead at his home in Bergen in November 2019. His front door was found open and ‘the door handle stained with blood’, court documents say. He had been stabbed and his throat slashed.
The organic farm owner in his 30s is said to have owed money to Swiss investor Lukas Fecker. Adding to the mix,
Netherlands authorities allege that Fecker hired a former Sheriff’s deputy in Forrest County, Mississippi and a New Jersey man to snuff out Schwarz. The two American men have been accused of crimes relating to murder, manslaughter and hostage-taking by Dutch officials in the slaying of Thomas Schwarz.
Dutch police are seeking the extradition of William Lyle Johnson, 34, and Jacob Mazeika, 38, over claims they were hired as hitmen by Fecker to kill Schwarz.
Johnson was employed by the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office from May 2017 to April 2019 and was sheriff’s deputy in 2018.
Johnson, of Hattiesburg, was arrested in the US at the end of last month is being held without bail in the US; Mazeika will appear in a US court June 23.
Fecker, 51, owns Innovation Brain which buys companies ‘on the verge of bankruptcy’. He is detained in the Netherlands, awaiting trial. It is unclear what charges he faces.
It is unclear what links Johnson and Mazeika to Fecker.
As Dutch police recall the grisly scene inside the vicitim’s home in Nov 2019, Schwarz lay dead on the floor next to his dining room table with his hands and feet bound with wire. A pool of blood surrounded his lifeless body; a laptop and wallet full of credit cards lay on the floor nearby.
An autopsy report would later confirm that Schwarz, a German national and endurance athlete in his 30s, had suffered a series of deep stab wounds to his right leg and arm, as well as several injuries to his back and ribs. The fatal blow, however, was a deep gash to the throat, according to a trove of newly unsealed court documents.
The allegations, detailed in a series of extradition requests filed over the last two weeks, allege that the mastermind of the murder plot is 51-year-old Lukas Fecker, the owner of Innovation Brain, a corporate raider that buys businesses “on the verge of bankruptcy” and attempts to turn them around, according to the court papers.
The victim, 30-yeaar-old German Thomas Schwarz owned Taurus Farms in North Macedonia, near the Greek border, and the business was known to be struggling, the documents say. According to the court documents, ‘Dutch authorities believe it likely that the [Schwarz] and Fecker had a business relationship, and that the victim possibly owed Fecker money.
‘Fecker is currently detained and awaiting trial in the Netherlands,’ the documents state.
A third American, Justin Steven Causey, from Colorado is also named in court filings but it is not clear if he is directly accused of any crime in this case.
Court documents detail Schwarz being warned to settle his debts just weeks before his death by two English speaking men. Mazeika and Johnson are then said to have joined Causey at a hotel close to Schwarz’s home in the November, days before the killing. Their flight reservations from the US are said to have been made by Fecker.
And neighbors recall seeing a a Volkswagen Polo sedan outside Schwarz’s home on the morning of November 26. The car reportedly was rented by rented by Steven Causey and alleged mastermind, Lukas Fecker.
The neighbors also reported hearing a loud bang and seeing ‘one person bent over, holding a sheet or blanket, as well as a woman’. The identity of the woman is not stated.
The neighbor said he heard Schwarz’s front door slam and people fighting before a “loud bang” rang out from inside the house. Running to Schwarz’s house, he rang the doorbell. When nobody answered the door, he looked through the living room window and “saw one person bent over, holding a sheet or blanket, as well as a woman,” the witness said. Adding that “A woman left the victim’s house, slammed the front door, and entered the Volkswagen Polo, which promptly drove away,” the court document states. Two men, wearing hats, later entered the car.
German authorities later learned that two days before the murder, Causey and Fecker had rented the Volkswagen Polo in Frankfurt. On Nov. 26, Causey returned the car without the floor mats, telling the rental company that “he had cleaned the floor mats but had forgotten to put them back in the car before returning it,” the court document states. Forensic examination showed the car had “trace amounts of blood” that matched Schwarz’s blood samples.
Mazeika and Johnson returned to the United States two days later, on Nov. 28.
In an extradition request for Johnson, authorities say “Individual-2,” who appears to be Mazeika, transferred money into his bank account “on three occasions between January 2019 and May 2020.”
Dutch prosecutors are eager to extradite Mazeika and Johnson to the Netherlands where they can be held accountable for their alleged roles in the murder plot. Johnson, who has been arrested by U.S. authorities and detained without bail pending his next court date, was unable to be reached.
Authorities argued against releasing Mazeika on bail durinng his extradition case because he “sought to obfuscate and conceal his conduct in the Netherlands by minimizing documentary proof of his activity there,” pointing out that Mazeika “took an indirect route to his destination, flying to Germany and driving into Holland.”
On his way back to the U.S. they said, Mazeika took “what appears to be a deliberately circuitous route—back through Germany, and then via a series of flights back to the United States through seemingly disparate countries, specifically Russia and Switzerland.”
Prosecutors said Mazeiks’s overly complex itinerary appears more consistent with calculated evasion and concealment of his activities in the Netherlands than with innocent behavior.”
Mazeika’s next court hearing is scheduled for June 23. Johnson is set to appear in court again in July.