A 49-year-old Anahuac man has pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, United States Attorney John M. Bales announced on Monday, Aug. 20. The accused, David Houston Sartin, pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence before U.S. District Judge Thad Hartfield.
Sartin faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the kidnapping charge and a minimum of five years for the firearms violation. A sentencing date has not been set.
The Examiner first learned of the love-scorned Southeast Texas man when David Sartin’s plan was laid out in a federal indictment April 18, but the entire story detailing how Sartin came to enact his deadly plan was found on the Web site www.internetscamswatch.com . In 2009, Sartin, 49, of Hankamer near Baytown, met Elena Barykina on the Web site www.dream-marriage.com  and began a relationship with her – even traveling to the Ukraine to spend time with her and take her on trips through Europe.
But while Sartin’s “dream marriage” to Barykina began in promising fashion with affection and reciprocated love, according to his online comments, over the course of a two-year period his dream turned into a nightmare. In September 2010, Sartin began posting on numerous Internet sites that his relationship with Barykina was a sham and he alleges that he is just one of many of her victims. He posted their text conversations where she supposedly asks him for money – in one case $17,000. On June 20, 2011, she requested $6,000 to sustain her while attending a school in Russia.
But by then, Sartin had already hatched his plan to kill Barykina and a man in New York, according to government records. He had contacted someone who turned out to be a confidential informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and asked them to help him carry out his plan. He told the informant “that Ms. Barykina would be killed, and stated that she would develop a case of lead poisoning,” states a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner.
Undercover ATF agent Wesley Williamson contacted the defendant by e-mail and telephone during the second week of January 2012. The defendant spoke with Williamson by cell phone, a facility of interstate or foreign commerce. He used the code word “package” for Elena Barykina, and indicated that he wanted Barykina kidnapped and delivered to him. Agent Williamson told the defendant that he would kill her if the defendant could not do it. Jan. 31, 2012, Williamson talked with the defendant by telephone about the defendant hiring him to “eliminate” a second victim, who was a Russian male that lived in New York.
The affidavit says, “On March 6, 2012, the defendant met with Agent Williamson in person at Sutherlands in Beaumont, Texas. Agent Jauregui was present in the parking lot of Sutherlands doing surveillance for the meeting. The defendant disclosed to Agent Williamson that he was picking up supplies to complete the room he was building to confine Ms. Barykina. There were sheets of plywood and 2x4s in the back of the defendant’s truck. The defendant gave Agent Williamson $25,000 and they formed the plan to bring Ms. Barykina to the defendant. Agent Williamson asked the defendant if he wanted him to come back to kill her and he told him that he wanted to personally take care of her.”
At what was to be the final meeting March 23, 2012, at Sutherland’s, Sartin was taken into custody. A search of his truck revealed an envelope containing the second $25,000 payment, a .45 caliber pistol and a stun gun. At his home, officers found more than 25 firearms, handcuffs and records showing his international travel. Officers also found the room Sartin said he would use to confine Barykina once she was kidnapped and brought back to the U.S.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Department of Public Safety – Texas Rangers, Criminal Investigation Division, Aircraft Division, and the Highway Patrol Division; Beaumont Police Department; Chambers County Sheriff’s Office; Houston Police Department and the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Batte.