Police say Reginald Dillard thought he had it all worked out.
The 34-year-old appraiser would pay thousands to have his business partner of seven years, Darren Lytle, gunned down by a hit man.
Lytle’s wife would get the insurance money and turn Lytle’s interest in D&L Appraisal over to Dillard.
And Las Vegas police would never suspect a thing.
According to Dillard’s arrest report, a year of planning backfired when Dillard offered the scheme to an informant.
Lytle was alive and well on Friday and with his wife and two children, after a short stint in protective custody.
Dillard, who has previous arrests for domestic violence battery and resisting a police officer, faces a charge of soliciting murder. He is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.
Las Vegas police investigators say they have a solid case against Dillard. He was recorded with audio and video over and over again conspiring to have Lytle killed, police said.
The investigation began earlier this month when an FBI informant told authorities about a murder-for-hire offer.
The first recorded meeting took place April 11 at the Camden Summit apartment complex in Henderson. During the meeting, Dillard said he believed Lytle was stealing from the business and he didn’t like the way Lytle treated Dillard’s family members who worked for D & L Appraisal, according to the arrest report.
“Dillard felt that because Lytle’s death would not benefit him, the police would not be suspicious of him,” the report said. “Dillard believes the (Lytle’s) wife will hand over her half of the business based on a handshake deal made when they purchased the insurance policies.”
Dillard confessed that he had tried to hire someone to kill Lytle in 2006, but didn’t trust that the hired gun, named “T,” could do the job, the report said.
Dillard offered to pay $10,000 cash for the hit, and made an initial payment of $2,000. The informant told Dillard to get a picture of Lytle to help identify the target.
In later meetings, the undercover operative tried to introduce Dillard to an undercover cop posing as the hit man, the report stated.
But Dillard refused. And on one occasion, Dillard became so upset with the idea of meeting the hit man he almost started to cry, according to the arrest report.
The report indicates that on several occasions Dillard was offered a chance to call the hit off. “Dillard stated he wanted to go through with the murder of Lytle. … Dillard’s biggest concern was getting caught.”
On Wednesday, Dillard told the informant that Lytle would be appraising property Thursday on Oquendo Road, near Russell Road and Interstate 15, and suggested the hit take place there, the report said. He also indicated he had the second of three payments to have the hit carried out.
Early Thursday morning, investigators said they told Lytle of Dillard’s plan.
Initially, Lytle didn’t believe police, said Capt. James Dillon of the robbery/homicide bureau.
“Mr. Lytle was shocked when the (Safe Street gang) task force met with him,” Dillon said. Lytle told police there was no way Dillard would do such a thing, Dillon said.
But Lytle eventually told police Dillard had seemed overly curious about his appraisal of the property on Oquendo and kept asking about family pictures, the report stated. Lytle was put in protective custody.
A few hours later, about 10:30 a.m., Dillard met the informant in a Home Depot parking lot, at 6025 South Pecos Road, near Russell, the report stated.
The informant got into Dillard’s Land Rover and said the deed was done, showing him Lytle’s driver’s license. “Dillard opened up the center console of the vehicle which contained $5,000” in $100 bills, according to the arrest report. “Dillard was not willing to touch the money and directed (the informant) to take it.”
Police had an arrest warrant signed and put Dillard into cuffs about 2:30 p.m.
Beyond taking control of the business, Dillon said, the preliminary investigation is revealing that Dillard was in personal financial trouble.