Chandler Man Tried to Hire Buddy to Kill Ex-Wife, Mesa Cops Say; Stephen Michael Sawins has Violent History


A Chandler man with a history of violence against his former wife was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of hiring a man to shoot the woman in the head.

Michael Stephen Sawins, 33, of 875 West Pecos Road, #1165, gave his .22-caliber Derringer pistol to his friend and former roommate, court records state, with the idea that the friend would use it to kill Sawins' ex-wife.

Sawins "wanted his ex-wife killed utilizing the Derringer handgun, providing one or two shots to the backside of her head, referring to this as an assasin's kill," court records state.

Sawins expected to receive $400,000 in insurance payouts from his ex-wife's death, and promised to give his buddy 25 percent. (He later cheaped out, lowering the fee for the hit to $50,000).


The former roommate was apparently horrified and told his mother, who worked with Sawins, about Sawins' plan. The mother and a supervisor at the company, both of whom had heard Sawins complain "regularly" about his ex-wife and express aloud his desire to hurt her.

The women brought the gun to the headquarters of Tempe police, but Mesa police ended up doing the investigation -- we put in a call with Mesa PD to find out more.

Court records show that police had Sawins' ex-roommate make a phone call to Sawins on Tuesday to chat about the plan. Police listened in as Sawins promised to get the man some "front money" to effect an escape to California after the crime.

Mesa police then arrested Sawins at his Chandler apartment, where he'd been living for about four months. Cops say he was full of denials, but did admit he "possibly discussed" with the former roommate "his wishes that his wife would die or be killed."

Sawins was convicted in Colorado of violence against his ex-wife, the booking sheet states. Internet records also show that Sawins was arrested in Las Vegas in July on suspicion of domestic violence.

Sawins is now being held in county jail.

His ex-wife took out an order of protection against him after cops told her of his alleged plan. As long as he's behind bars, she ought to be safe.