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Man charged in scheme to hire a `cheap' hit man

A man who allegedly tried to hire an undercover police officer as a hit man last week remains in jail after a court hearing Monday.

Earnest Sinju, 20, Provo, was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder and intent to sell marijuana. Fourth District Judge Lynn W. Davis set bail at $50,000 cash. Sinju, who came to Utah from Cameroon, West Africa, also had an immigration detainer imposed on him, according to jail records.Provo Police Lt. Greg Du Val said a man put the word out on the street that he wanted to find someone to fatally shoot two men who severely beat his friend Sept. 29. The beating victim spent several days in the hospital with head and facial injuries. Du Val said the fight apparently was drug related.

A member of the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force posed as a hit man after getting information about a murder-for-hire, he said. The suspect allegedly offered the undercover officer a "nominal" amount of money last Thursday night to "shoot them and anyone else who got in the way," Du Val said.

"We're talking life was cheap here on this one," Du Val said.

Police arrested the man after he gave the officer money and provided names and addresses of the murder targets, he said. Police have not decided to whether to interview the two men involved in the beating. Du Val said the victim has not cooperated with police.