The founder of a Chicago megachurch and former member of of President Trump‘s evangelical advisory board is reportedly under investigation for attempting to set up a murder-for-hire plot that targeted his son-in-law, according to the The Christian Post.
Harvest Bible Chapel founder James MacDonald is being investigated by Illinois police after independent journalist Julie Roys first brought the allegations to light. According to a statement to the Christian Post from Wilmette Deputy Police Chief Pat Collins, the investigation was launched after someone came in and filed a report.
According to Roys’ reporting, the allegations originated from a former bodyguard of MacDonald’s as well as Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller. MacDonald’s former bodyguard, Emmanuel “Manny” Bucur, is currently a deacon at Harvest Bible Chapel.
Muller says that there were at least two occasions in 2018 where MacDonald asked him if he knew anyone who was willing to carry out a murder for hire. Muller reportedly confirmed that MacDonald was “really serious” about his inquiry.
Three years before, Bucur says MacDonald asked him to kill his son-in-law, Tony Groves, and even offered to help in the disposal of the body. Bucur says he’s didn’t report MacDonald to the police the time because he thought he was just upset over his daughter’s failed marriage.
From The Christian Post:
Bucur alleges that MacDonald asked him to kill Groves while they were on a motorcycle trip to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, from July 31, 2015, to August 2, 2015. Others who were on the trip are: former HBC Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald, former Elder and Executive Director of Harvest Bible Fellowship Kent Shaw, former Elder Marcel Olar, and church members Tom Moore and Steve Lupella.
During breakfast while at a restaurant in Indiana on the last day of the trip, Bucur said, MacDonald asked him to kill Groves while searching pornography websites for damaging material he feared Groves may have posted of his daughter Abby.
MacDonald reportedly asked Bucur if he would be willing to “take Tony out.” Bucur reportedly responded, “Are you asking me what I think you’re asking me?”
Before the murder-for-hire allegations came to light, MacDonald was fired from Harvest Bible in February due to “highly inappropriate recorded comments” he made on a radio program as well as “other conduct.”
In the run up to Donald Trump’s presidency, MacDonald was a member of the then-nominee’s evangelical advisory council, but resigned in 2016 after the release of the Access Hollywood tape, which featured Trump talking about sexually assaulting women.
“Only God made America great in the first place and only God can make America great again,” MacDonald wrote in a blog post explaining his resignation.
In the state of Illinois, solicitation to commit murder is a class X felony punishable with a 15 to 30-year prison sentence.
Featured image: James MacDonald/YouTube