Undercover Operation Reveals Alleged Murder-For-Hire Plot

The FBI, ATF, Smith County officials, and Tyler police and firefighters were all involved in the operation.

Tyler police took Tom Lee Golightly, 44, of Palestine, into custody at the target parking lot just before 4 p.m. Thursday.

The operation began when someone assisting federal agents obtained a bomb. It allegedly came from Golightly. That's when an undercover ATF agent got involved.

Golightly told the agent if he ever wanted to kill someone, Golightly could create a bomb and plant it under the intended victim's vehicle. The two then agreed to meet this afternoon at the Target parking lot on S. Broadway. Authorities say Golightly was going to finalize plans for a $1600 murder-for-hire plot.

When he showed up, Tyler police arrested him at gunpoint. Golightly did not resist.

FBI and ATF agents spent two hours sifting through evidence in his car. They found drug paraphernalia, CB radios, and other electronic devices with parts that could be used to make bombs.

"We know that he's putting these explosive devices out there," said Matt Bingham, Smith County District Attorney. "We know, based on his statement, he is someone that is willing to plant that device and kill somebody. So we saw that we need to take this individual off the streets."

Golightly faces at least one count of solicitation of capital murder, with federal charges pending.

Golightly has an extensive criminal record, including convictions for theft and DWI. He's also been charged with cattle theft.

Julie Tam, reporting.