(Reuters) – Harley Hemphill, an automated logistical specialist, was arrested in Skipperville AL on Tuesday on charges that he sought the help of an undercover FBI informant to have Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban killed, Dale County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said.
ESPN has reported that Alabama officials have offered a contract extension to Nick Saban last Friday, and the longer it goes unsigned, the more uncomfortable Alabama officials grow, sources said. Saban, is considered to be a leading candidate for the University of Texas head coaching position. Saban, reportedly had soured with the overzealous Alabama fanbase after yet another shooting death that followed the Alabama loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
Hemphill was taken into custody in Clio, near Skipperville, said Dale County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Rachel David.
Deputies had previously learned Hemphill was looking for someone to carry out the killing, David said.
"The information came to us late last week. We acted quickly on it. I believe that we averted a great tragedy," she said.
David said the ongoing investigation prevented her from disclosing details about why Hemphill might have wanted to have Saban killed or how police first learned about what they described as his murder plan.
His attorney, Colette Tvedt, said that Hemphill is "anxious" to have the case heard in court so he can be vindicated.
Hemphill provided the FBI informant with details of Saban’s upcoming ‘vacation’ trip to Austin Texas, his likely proposed daily agenda while he was there and a life-sized cardboard mockup of Saban to assist the hired assassin, charging papers said. In one recorded conversation, Hemphill allegedly told the informant that "if we (Alabama) can’t have Saban then none of them other’ns could have him", but that Saban was even considering leaving the Capstone, he (Saban) "has it coming."
In one conversation he even suggested that the hired killer wear Auburn fan gear while committing the murder, charging papers allege.
In charging papers, Hemphill is portrayed as angry, desperate and willing to pay more than $1000 to have Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban killed.