Accused iPad Thief Allegedly Orders Hit on Victim From Jail

Brandon Smith's mug shot, left, and a surveillance image from Denver police of the crime, right. (CBS/KCNC)
Brandon Smith and a Surveillance Image of the Alleged Crime. (CBS/KCNC)

DENVER (CBS/KCNC) The man suspected of mangling a shopper's finger while stealing an iPad is accused of trying to arrange the victim's murder.

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey filed a charge of attempted first-degree murder Tuesday against Brandon Smith, 20.

Smith is also charged with robbery and third-degree assault in the theft of an iPad from Bill Jordan, 59, in a mall in April. Jordan's left pinky was so badly mangled when it became entangled in a bag yanked from his hand that part of it had to be amputated.

Authorities say deputies at the jail intercepted a letter by Smith in which he tried to arrange the murder. Bill Jordan's son, Jason Jordan, told CBS affiliate KCNC his father was stunned after being contacted by the Witness Protection Program in July.

"They had intercepted a letter from Brandon Smith to someone on the outside where he had intended to have my father killed," Jason Jordan told the station. "You know the threat is pretty significant when they're talking about changing your identity and moving to another city."

According to Denver police, the letter said, "You get this done. I'll rob a bank if you want me to. If you do this case is dropped, no witness." The letter also contained Jordan's name and address, apparently obtained by Smith from a complaint and information form.

"While I don't know how he came by his copy of that, what he had was a public document," Lynn Kimbrough with the Denver District Attorney's Office said.

"You can never go back to living your life the way you did prior to that," Jason Jordan told KCNC. "You're always going to be looking over your shoulder."

Smith is due in court Thursday, Aug. 19  to be informed of the new charge against him.

Story Contributed by CBS affiliate KCNC