Ponca City acting gig turns into murder for hire plot

PONCA CITY, Okla. — Quick Facts:

  • Federal agents arrested Danielle Dana Layman, aka Danielle Givati, on a murder for hire complaint
  • A resident responded to her Craigslist listing for an acting job
  • Layman allegedly gave the resident ricin and plans to kill someone in Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Check out the timeline below, or scroll further for the text story

A normally quiet city in Oklahoma became the scene of an international murder for hire investigation Friday, where a woman was arrested and accused of murder for hire.

FOX23 was on the scene when FBI agents, Joint Terrorism Task Force agents, Hazardous Material teams, Ponca City police and paramedics served a search warrant in Ponca City.

The search warrant remained sealed throughout Friday, but the federal documents became open to the public Monday.

An officer with the FBI's joint terrorism task force reported in the warrant that there was probable cause to believe Danielle Dana Layman used "interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder for hire".

STORY MAP: Click through to see where this story happened

A Craigslist ad

The warrant says Layman, who also went by aliases Samantha Dowry, Dannielle Givati, and Dana Abecassis, posted a Craigslist ad on May 3; it was titled “10 day gig overseas for amateur, competitive pay!”

The body of the post read: For production overseas, looking for talent, 30-45 years old.

Doesn't have to be a professional actor. Required: Creative, outgoing and friendly, positive personality, boldness and bravery (some stunts may seem risky, although they are completely safe). Discrete (you must not disclose any information related to the plot to ANYONE under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, until after it premiers, except with explicit permission from production) valid passport not required but preferred: Experience in acting. Experience performing in magic shows, Experience as casino dealer. No need to pass a background check however, no one with drug related convictions or current drug use will be hired. Send resume and cover letter by email and we will contact you to set up interview.

A woman listed in the federal complaint as “CHS” responded to “Samantha Dowry” (Layman) through Craigslist Messenger and text to discuss the job listing. According to the FBI, CHS was one of two respondents to the ad.

Meeting at a coffee shop

The two met at a coffee shop almost a week later, according to the complaint. During that meeting, Layman laid out her plan to kill a taxi driver in Tel Aviv, Israel, using ricin.

Court documents claim meeting included a PowerPoint slideshow presentation on a laptop. It covered what CHS would do, where she would stay, and how she would get there.

Layman allegedly offered $1,000 in travel expenses, with a $4,000 payout once the target was hospitalized or killed.

Layman then allegedly gave CHS a package that contained ricin.

Who is Danielle Layman?

Following the visit, CHS reported what happened to her attorney, then the FBI.

Federal agents digging into “Samantha Dowry” found Layman, who had a non-immigrant visa under the name Danielle Givati. Givati is listed as an Israili national and a permanent resident of the United States.

Layman claims to be a former Director of Nursing for the Israeli Ministri of Labor. She married an American soldier in 2010. 

Further investigation claimed Laymen was in a custody battle with someone bearing the same last name as her alleged target. Court documents were not clear if they were the same person.

Search warrant

During the late-June search of Layman’s house, agents reported finding “several dozen” castor beans, a kitchen device called a mortar and pestle- used to crush ingredients into pastes or powders, and internet instructions on how to make ricin.

During the search, investigators said Layman called her husband and told him she ordered castor beans, knew how to make ricin and printed off instructions.

Investigators arrested Layman on Friday evening, and she was booked in the Logan County Jail.  

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