Seattle police say the solicitation, titled "A strange desire," was posted last week in the casual encounters section of the Seattle Craigslist site. A Craigslist employee spotted the post and called police.
Undercover detectives contacted the man to determine if the ad was more than just fantasy.
Authorities say the man said he was looking for someone who wanted to be killed, but that he was willing to kill an unwilling participant.
Investigators say after communicating with the man about 30 times, during which the man doubled his price to two-thousand dollars detectives set up a sting at the Aero Motel in South Seattle where they say the man agreed to meet the would-be murder victim.
Surveillance tape showed the man arriving and police officers surrounding and arresting him.
He was identified as 24-year-old Shawn T. Skelton. Court documents say Skelton had a knife and a length of heavy chain on him. Investigators said he later confessed to the attempted murder, and said he needed help.
His bail has been set at $1 million.