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Port Allen man jailed on charges he hired hit man accused of making second attempt from jail


PORT ALLEN, Louisiana — A Port Allen man jailed on charges he hired a hit man to kill a Pointe Coupee couple is now accused of making a second attempt, this time from behind bars.

Col. Richie Johnson, with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1RrapwB) Tommy Joe Gioele asked at least three fellow inmates to kill Manuel A. Persica and his wife, Camellia, who were involved in a 2007 business deal with Gioele that turned sour.

Johnson said one of the inmates Gioele promised to pay to kill the couple had been released from the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail two weeks ago.

"This is the first time we've seen someone try to hire someone while they're in jail for already trying to kill the same people," Johnson said. "Sometimes people take threats lightly, but this guy is dangerous."

Gioele, 37, was booked June 12 on an additional count of solicitation of murder following an investigator's discovery of the newest attempt.

Gioele's $750,000 bail was raised by another $100,000.

Gioele was originally booked into the parish prison in December on two counts of solicitation of murder after a man he's accused of paying $300 to buy a pistol to kill the Persicas instead informed the authorities.

Gioele is set to stand trial Oct. 19 on the original solicitation for murder counts. Court records show Gioele's attorney Michael Distefano has asked for a bench trial.

Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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