Joseph Hoppa's father gave nearly his entire estate — which includes property in nearby Redgranite, 220 acres in Orlando, and most of his liquid assets — to Joseph's other son, whose name and age have not been released. Joseph and Jason Hoppa had supposedly become frustrated that the estate was not divided more equally and had begun to assume that the other son had somehow manipulated the grandfather into naming him the sole heir. In reprisal, they reportedly attempted to hire a hitman to kill the unnamed son.
In October, the supposed hitman contacted police because he had a twinge of conscience regarding several conversations he had reportedly had with the two suspects. According to police reports, the hitman had initially met Joseph back in March when he was looking for a place to live. Joseph allegedly told the man he could stay at one of his properties, as long as he promised to "do some favors down the road."
In July, the alleged hitman claimed, Joseph contacted him and asked him to kill his son and offered to pay him $40,000 in exchange, $20,000 to secure his services, and $20,000 after the deed was done. When the hitman questioned why he would want to have his son killed, he said Joseph replied, "No love here. I have no love for this kid. He's got to go, no ifs, and or buts. He's got to f***ing go."
The alleged hitman reported a similar conversation with Jason Hoppa, who supposedly told the man he "wanted him to kill his brother." The victim had reportedly filed a restraining order against his brother back in February, but that case was dismissed.
On November 30, the day both men were taken into custody, police executed a search warrant of Jason's home and discovered several firearms, including "a Beretta [Gardone] VT that had the serial numbers ground off," the criminal complaint states. Police also reportedly found "a New England firearm 20- gauge shotgun that was sawed off and modified."
Both Joseph and Jason have denied the allegations. Joseph allegedly told police that he is "a Christian" and would not want to harm his son, despite his frustrations with the inheritance, while Jason supposedly called all of it "total bulls**t." The supposed hitman has since declined to continue cooperating with the investigation, though he did agree to record a conversation with Joseph in November. The contents of that conversation seem, at best, ambiguous.
"If you still want it done, I’ll go down and put a bullet in his head right now before I leave town," the intended hitman told Joseph.
Joseph responded, "I can’t do something like that."
When the alleged hitman pressed him further, Joseph stated: "I kinda think I wouldn’t wanna have anybody done, but there are other things that could be done later on. Right now I gotta wait til everything gets done and I get paid. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get anything."
The alleged hitman then mentioned talking to Jason and made veiled reference to "the conversation that me and you had."
Joseph replied, “As long as he’s got your number, if I needed any work done or anything, I’d let you know."
Judge Mark Slate of Green Lake County Court set bond for Joseph and Jason at $50,000 apiece, which both of them have since posted. The victim attempted to have Joseph removed from his home because it sits about 100 yards away from his own residence. Slate declined that request, but did order Joseph not to use any device — such as a surveillance camera or binoculars — to monitor the victim's activities in any way. It is unclear when the two men are next expected to appear in court.