A former Santa Barbara film student is accused of trying to hire a hitman to murder his stepmom.
Investigators say he did it by accessing a place most people would never go, the hidden web.
“This is the first dark web case that I’m aware of in San Luis Obispo County where the crime was committed over this dark web,” said SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow.
The filmmaker and photographer has pleaded not guilty to the crime.
Beau Brigham was supposed to appear in court Tuesday morning, but that didn’t happen.
Rewind several years back and a short film from 2012 features Brigham. It went viral with millions of views. Brigham is back in the spotlight again but, this time, for a much darker reason.
“It was a woman, that lives in San Luis Obispo County that Mr. Brigham wanted to have killed,” Dow continued.
In May, Dow says he got a tip from a national media outlet.
“We took it seriously, even though it’s rare,” Dow explained. “As soon as we got that information and believed that someone could be at risk of being killed, we wanted to immediately investigate.”
“They told us they have a possible murder-for-hire case,” said Lt. John Bledsoe of the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
SLOPD detectives say they interviewed an informant from England.
“And determined he found some information on the dark web that Beau Brigham was wanting to have his stepmother killed,” Lt. Bledsoe said.
Police identified her and asked the San Luis Obispo resident if there might be anyone that wanted to harm her in anyway, and she had mentioned her stepson, Beau.
Detectives soon located Brigham at his biological mother’s house in Palm Desert.
“We interviewed him and his mother at the time and did get some admissions about the murder for hire case itself,” Lt. Bledsoe said.
He was arrested in August and has been in jail since.
Police told KSBY that Brigham made two payments to make sure the killing was carried out.
On Tuesday, Brigham was not in court for his pre preliminary hearing.
KSBY asked his lawyer, Ilan Funke-Bilu why.
“He’s ill. The court respects that and we certainly appreciate the court not allowing him to be present today.”
His lawyer was tight lipped on his medical condition but did say this:
“I can tell you, I don’t believe for one second that my client is guilty, and I think the evidence is going to be overwhelming in that direction.”
Investigators say the motive behind this murder-for-hire plot was money.
Brigham is due back in court on Friday. We will have an update for you at that time.
If Brigham is found guilty, he faces up to nine years in prison. Right now, he’s being held in jail on a $100,000 bond. We tried to get in contact with the alleged victim in this case but did not hear back.