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Murder-for-Hire Suspect Accidentally Released to Terrorize Ex

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 10 August 2023
2 min to read

A man from Newark, NJ who was taken into custody in February 2021 at the Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino for reportedly paying a hitman to murder his ex and her brother, was mistakenly freed from a prison in Pennsylvania six months later.
Dominic Escalera, Wind Creek Bethlehem

In February 2021, Dominic Escalera, above, was arrested at the Wind Creek Bethlehem in connection with an alleged murder-for-hire scheme. As per a gross negligence lawsuit brought by his ex-girlfriend, Escalera, 39, had previously terrorized and attacked her in her Allentown, Penn. home, before leaving Wind Creek Bethlehem in February 2021 as a suspect in the murder-for-hire scheme. Prosecutors allege Escalera had agreed to pay an individual in cash and illegal drugs for the killings, and had provided the individual with a weapon. In August 2021, Escalera was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of hiring a hitman and one count of possessing a firearm as a felon. (Image: Essex County Correctional Institute)

Suddenly, “the hitman” was revealed to be a Pennsylvania State trooper in disguise, resulting in the apprehension of Escalera within the confines of the casino. His attempted offense was deemed a Terrifying Assault.

Terrifying Assault

On Aug. 18, 2021, despite facing the risk of a prison sentence of up to 30 years on the charges, a federal judge denied bail to Escalera determining him to be a flight risk and a danger to the community, thus ruling for him to remain incarcerated at the Lehigh County Jail throughout the pretrial proceedings. Unbelievably, only two days later, he had been released and immediately visited the plaintiff’s home. “I told you I would get out,” he is reported to have said ominously upon her entry of her kitchen. For the subsequent two hours, Escalera proceeded to fearfully assault the plaintiff equally menacing threats to kill her and her family. Thankfully, the plaintiff successfully sent covert texts for help which resulted in his rearrest. It was her ‘Worst Nightmare’.

‘Worst Nightmare’

In a suit against Lehigh County, its jail warden Kyle Russell, and its corrections director Janine Donate, the plaintiff claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her experience. She lives in fear that Escalera, the person she alleges he was plotting to kill, could reappear in her home. According to Josh Karoly, the plaintiff’s lawyer, the situation presents “literally any victim’s worst nightmare,” and showcases “the worst possible offense” to be released from jail. “It’s heroic how she was able to deal with the situation and get him back into custody,” Karoly added, “but she should’ve never been in that position in the first place.”

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Updated: 10 August 2023
2 min to read

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