It's All About Payback

How Many Commandments. . .

Maybe they took that "vengeance will be mine" verse a little too literally: Two Florida preachers got into a nasty, very personal dispute that kept escalating until one hired a hit man to murder the other.

Luckily, the "hit man" turned out to be a federal agent, and no one was killed. But by then, plenty of damage had been done.

It all started in March, 1993, when George Crossley, a Christian evangelist with his own radio and television shows (he has been described as "the Jerry Falwell of Central Florida"), began an affair with the receptionist at his church, Madeline Waldo.

When Waldo's husband, George "Butch" Waldo, a fundamentalist minister who had once belonged to the same church as Crossley, discovered the affair, he threatened to kill Crossley.

Crossley pressed charges, and Waldo was sentenced to six months probation. Crossley admitted the affair to his wife, and she forgave him.

But Crossley and his receptionist couldn't stay apart, and the affair rekindled. Waldo divorced his wife in 1995, and set out in earnest to avenge himself. He called scores of companies that advertised on Rev. Crossley's Christian radio show, informing them of the affair and urging them to stop advertising.

Not surprisingly, this upset Rev. Crossley.

Then, Waldo allegedly called his adversary's wife and threatened her. This upset Rev. Crossley even more.

At this point, Rev. Crossley, who was still carrying on with Ms. Waldo, began talking about firebombing Mr. Waldo's house.

When Waldo called Rev. Crossley at the station in the spring of 1996 during his show, and asked him on the air about the affair, the evangelist snapped.

He called his best friend, Bill Klinger, and suggested they kill Waldo that night. Alarmed, Klinger called the county sheriff, who decided to set up a sting operation.

Within a few days, Klinger had introduced his friend to a "hit man" who was actually an undercover Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency man wired for sound.

At the meeting, Crossley, now 57, gave the masquerading agent a 9mm pistol along with Waldo's photo and his address. At the meeting, he said of his enemy: "I'd be just thrilled to put a bullet between his eyes."

The next day, Crossley even called back so he could give the killer another gun. He was arrested that afternoon by a SWAT team.

Crossley, who claims he was entrapped, was convicted last December of solicitation to commit murder. He is now serving four years in prison. Fearing for his life, Klinger is in hiding, and sometimes wears a bulletproof vest.

But maybe there is a silver lining after all. Prison, Rev. Crossley noted as he was being led handcuffed to his new home, does have its advantages: "It's a great place to witness for Christ."

Revenge: Home
What Would Jesus Say? || The Angry Shopper
An Old Friend Lends A Hand || Give Us Forgiveness
Vengeful Thoughts