The trial of Hamid Ghassemi, who was arrested for the alleged first-degree murder of Taherah Ghassemi in 2015, is set to start today after years of delays. Should he be found guilty, Ghassemi could face a life sentence behind bars. Ghassemi was the owner of Import One, a car dealership on Airline Highway north of I-12 prior to his arrest.
Ghassemi stands accused of hiring three hitmen, Tyler Ashpaugh, Daniel Umberto Richter, and Skyler Williams, by offering them $10,000 to execute the murder. While Ashpaugh and Richter initially accepted plea deals in 2018, Richter later retracted his guilty plea in 2021. Tragically, Ashpaugh was discovered deceased in his cell at Angola prison earlier this year due to an apparent overdose.
Richter admitted to participating in the kidnapping, murder, and burial of the 54-year-old woman. On the other hand, Tyler Lee Ashpaugh confessed to shooting her in the head, although it was established that she was already deceased at the time of the shooting.
Furthermore, Skyler Williams, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, is also facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the slaying. His trial is slated to start this month as well.
Ghassemi has been being held at the EBR Parish Prison with no bond since his arrest in May of 2015.