Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
A federal magistrate ruled that Ryan Walker Grant remain held without bond. Grant is accused of orchestrating a plot against Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and a city attorney.An FBI agent has testified Grant gave the order by saying, "Let's do the mayor. Let's hit him tomorrow."
A federal judge ruled Friday morning that the Arlington strip club owner accused in a murder-for-hire plot is a danger to society and that he should remain in federal custody.
Ryan Grant, of Kennedale, was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on April 9, the same day it's alleged he ordered the murder of Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and a Dallas attorney.
FBI Special Agent Matthew Wilkins testified during the detention hearing that an informant had contact with Grant on at least four occasions, beginning on April 3, and that there are audio and video recordings of some of those conversations.
The initial encounter of which there is a record, according to Wilkins, began with a text message from Grant to the informant asking him to "call when you can."
During the subsequent phone conversation the informant said that Grant would speak in code, that he needed to discuss "formal business" and that he "wanted someone to take a vacation up here from down south for a high profile deal."
Later that day, according to Wilkins, Grant and the informant met in person. At that time, Grant reportedly handed the informant photographs of Cluck and attorney Tom Brandt, whom the city had hired to handle a nuisance lawsuit filed against Grant's strip club, Flashdancers.
During that conversation, Grant was reportedly recorded on tape as saying he wanted "Wetback dudes from Mexico to come kill these dudes," referring to the photograph, Wilkins testified.
Grant is alleged to have said that he would pay $10,000 a piece for the murders, and that he wanted to know ahead of time when the killings would happen so he could get his alibi straight.
Two days later, Wilkins testified, on April 5, Grant texted the informant, "Don't bet at the racetrack on the ponies just yet," indicating that nothing should happen until they could meet in person again.
On April 9, Grant and the informant met at Grant's home, Wilkins testified. At that time, Grant reportedly only wanted to move forward with the murder of Cluck, saying "Let's do the mayor. Hit him tomorrow."
That evening the FBI secured an arrest warrant for Grant and took him into custody.
Grant's attorney, Warren St. John, called on Grant's mother Patricia to testify that her son was not a flight risk and that he would present no danger to society if he were to be released pending trial.
Outside of the federal courthouse, St. John told reporters that the government's case against his client is weak. St. John said that no overt acts were taken except his client's constitutional right to free speech, and that the government's source of information is a convicted felon who serves as an informant.
St. John called the informant a snitch and said that informants are only out to protect themselves.