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Man who tried to hire hit man found dead in Virginia jail cell

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HOPEWELL, Va. — The Petersburg man who attempted to hire a hit man to kill both his girlfriend’s husband and his niece’s boyfriend died in jail. Shannon Crane, 36, was found unresponsive in his cell at Riverside Regional Jail early Monday morning. The Office of Chief Medical Examiner will determine Crane’s cause of death, however a statement from the jail indicated it appeared Crane died of natural causes.

Crane had been incarcerated since November 2013. That was when he was arrested after he met an undercover police officer who he thought was a hit man. Police were called when Crane’s targets learned Crane wanted them dead. In a video recorded by the undercover officer, Crane went into graphic detail about what he wanted done.

"I want you to put him in so much f***ing pain that he's never felt before," Crane said. "I want you to take something, literally every teeth, tooth in his mouth."

An Internal Investigation into Crane's death is underway at the jail. The investigation is required by jail policy, the statement read.

Crane was scheduled to be officially sentenced in Petersburg Court this week.