The former youth pastor at a Chester County megachurch who has been accused of attempting to hire an inmate at a state prison where he was serving time for impregnating a teenage girl to murder the head pastor at the church where he served, as well as the judge who had sentenced him, is back in Somerset County.
Jacob Matthew Malone was transferred from a state prison in Montgomery County earlier this month to the Somerset County Prison after being charged in late February by state police with attempted murder, criminal solicitation, attempted aggravated assault and terroristic threats.
According to a criminal complaint, the alleged attempt to hire the “hitman” was made while Malone was serving time in the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands.
Malone allegedly offered a fellow inmate $5,000 to kill the pastor at the Exton church where he worked in 2015, and who reported his affair with a teenage girl to local police after she gave birth to his child. There would be more money if the inmate killed the judge in his case, Judge Jacqueline Carroll Cody, according to the complaint.
Malone, 37, of Reading, was held on $500,000 bail after his preliminary arraignment on March 2 by Magisterial District Judge Kenneth Johnson of Somerset. A preliminary hearing on the case is set for April 9.
Attorney Evan Kelly of West Chester, who represented Malone in the original case involving the teenager, declined comment on the case. He is representing Malone on the new charge.
Malone had been sentenced to serve a prison term of three to six years after pleading guilty to charges of corruption of minors, institutional sexual assault and endangering the welfare of children. An earlier sentence of two to four years was rejected as being too lenient given the circumstances of the case — that he had groomed the young woman from her early teens and began having sex with her while she lived with his family in Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
According to the complaint by Trooper Patrick Hauser of the Somerset barracks, he was told in February that Malone was attempting to arrange the murder of Calvary Fellowship Church Pastor Harold Lee Wiggins and Judge Cody while he was incarcerated at the state prison in Somerset.
Hauser stated that he had been in contact with a member of the Chester County Detectives Office, who told him that he had received letters from another inmate at the prison. The detective said that inmate Angelo Tomeo told him in July 2019 that Malone was attempting to arrange for the murder of Wiggins and Cody while still at SCI Laurel Highlands.
The detective reportedly visited Tomeo at the prison and confirmed that Tomeo had written the letters. The detective then visited with Wiggins at the church and had him walk through the procedures used during Sunday church services at Calvary and the collection of money. Those details matched what Tomeo said Malone had told him about the church, the affidavit states.
After concluding that Chester County had no jurisdiction over this matter, the detectives promptly referred the matter to state police in Somerset in August.
On Feb. 21, Hauser reviewed the letters sent to the detectives. In them, according to the affidavit, Tomeo said Malone offered him $5,000 to kill Wiggins, who had been a key witness in the case against him, and additional money for Cody’s death. He said Malone blamed Cody for his harsher sentence. The letters contained a map of Calvary Fellowship.
Malone was arrested in January 2016 after the girl gave birth to a child and implicated Malone in sexually assaulting her while she lived with his family.