Towanda, PA. – A hitman getting paid $3,000 for having three famous psychic mediums murdered sat in the car with his employer, Craven Vaughn, at a Wal-Mart parking lot Thursday afternoon.
32-year-old Vaughn didn’t want the hitman to know his reason for wanting these three mediums dead. All of the mediums on his hit list are authors, and two are even television personalities.
However, Vaughn picked the wrong hit man for the job, as the hitman had secrets of his own. The supposed hitman’s hidden microphone recorded Vaughn telling him about the people he wanted dead.
He wanted to ‘eliminate’ three mediums specifically- James Van Praagh, Maureen Hancock, and David M. Baker. The mediums listened in on the conversation, along with state police and investigators from the Wyoming County district attorney’s office.
It turns out the “hitman” Vaughn hired for murder was an undercover state trooper. As soon as Vaughn paid the hitman and exited the vehicle, the “hitman” pulled out behind him and radioed the arrest team.
The state troopers arrested Vaughn on three counts; criminal attempt to commit criminal homicide, criminal use of a communication facility, and criminal solicitation of criminal homicide.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, it only took him two weeks to develop his bold plan. State police found out about Vaughn’s plans to murder the three mediums on December 5th, thanks to an anonymous tip.
The informant told them Vaughn intended to hire a hitman to murder the mediums and pay $1,500 for each one. The informant also told them Vaughn was willing to pay up to $10,000 for the job if needed.
The Plan Gets Set Into Motion
They agreed on that amount and set up a payment plan. Vaughn gave the man $3,000 as a down payment on the spot. By the time the hitman and Vaughn agreed to have the private conversation at 9 a.m. on December 7th, the informant had already made plans to record the conversation.
During the call, listeners heard Vaughn say, “I’d like to get this done soon as I could.” That’s when the informant gave Vaughn the telephone number of the state trooper who would act like the hired gun and assured him he would be the one to get the job done.
Vaughn called the number given to him repeatedly during the next week, leaving messages on his voicemail to call him back. The following Tuesday, the undercover trooper set up for the phone call between him and Vaughn to be recorded, then dialed Vaughn’s number.
Vaughn answered, and they decided to meet at a local Wal-Mart in Eaton Twp the following Thursday. Vaughn assured him he would take the agreed-upon $3,000 down payment.
Minutes before the arrest, as they were conversing about the job, the trooper asked Vaughn why he wanted these psychic mediums killed, and Vaughn wouldn’t tell him. He told the state trooper he would tell him why once he completed the task.
Vaughn wouldn’t even tell the trooper how he knew the mediums.
Famous Mediums Make The Hit List
The most famous medium of the three is a man named Van Praagh. He’s the author of many published books, has appeared on several TV shows like “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Larry King Live.” He also hosts live seminars and online courses about meditation and grief recovery.
Mr. Van Praagh produced a show on the Style Channel called “Psychic in Suburbia,” which starred one of the other mediums Vaughn wanted murdered- a woman named Nina M. Hancock. The show is about the “soccer mom who talks to the dead” and gets overcome with psychic visions at random locations like her neighborhood hair salon.
Hancock is also the author of a published book and has ties to an organization that helps the terminally ill prepare emotionally for death. The last medium Vaughn wanted dead was a psychic named Mr. Baker. Mr. Baker has also written a book and appeared on several podcasts and radio programs.
On his website, he mentions that his encounter with Mr. Van Praagh caused him to realize that he had been suppressing his psychic abilities all his life. It appears that the three mediums on Vaughn’s death list are all connected in one way or another.
All attempts to reach the mediums were ineffective. It is also unknown whether Vaughn has hired a lawyer to defend him yet. Following the Thursday arrest, Magisterial District Judge David Plummer prosecuted Vaughn. He sent him to Wyoming County Jail since he didn’t have the $250,000 necessary for bail.