CRIME

Portrait emerging of Broward family man charged with plotting murders

 

ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com

Jason Simione loved his wife of two years so much, friends say, he gave her everything she wanted: breast implants, a black Range Rover, a no-limit credit card, and he built a room onto the house for her mother.

A Dania Beach neighbor said Simione installed a stripper pole in the house for Megumi “May” Simione, who Simione is seen with in several loving photos posted on his FaceBook pages.

On Wednesday, Simione remained behind bars at the Broward County Jail, held on $5 million bond, accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her, her mother, her brother, and his own 9-month-old son.

According to the arrest warrant, Simione offered one of his employees $150,000 to find a hit man from El Salvador to commit the murders. Simione feared his estranged wife might take his son out of the country, and vowed to kill her before she could. And if he didn’t get custody of his son, the child would have to die, too.

Simione’s criminal lawyer, David Bogenschutz, said that his client is in the middle of a nasty divorce from the Japanese woman friends say he met at the Hawaiian strip club where he saw her pole dancing. They say she signed a prenuptial agreement that shielded her husband’s substantial assets in case of divorce but has been determined to leave with his money.

On Saturday, May Simione filed a temporary injunction against her husband, telling police he was abusing steroids and it was making him paranoid, delusional and violent.

But a Broward Sheriff’s Office detective involved in the case said Wednesday that no steroids were found in Jason Simione’s home.

BSO Det. Ricky Libman said that rather than steroids, police found a prescription testosterone supplement and an over-the-counter “super vitamin’’ that Libman said it is mainly given to race horses.

May Simione’s attorney, Robert Sidweber, did not return calls for comment.

It’s unknown where she and baby Jett are staying. No one was home Wednesday at the house at 4732 SW 35th Ave. police raided Monday night, finding an arsenal of legal weapons as well as 70,000 rounds of ammunition and what they described as the hardware to make pipe bombs.

In interviews with groups of Simione’s friends — former colleagues on the Hollywood Fire Department, relatives and buddies he hung out with at a neighborhood cigar shop — a portrait emerges of a man with strong opinions loudly and sometimes obnoxiously expressed, who adored his child, loved his wife and begged her to come home after she left in February.

Simione told them that after Jett was born last winter, his wife stopped having sex with him. He told them that his mother-in-law kept Jett in her room all the time and wouldn’t let him see the baby as much as he wanted.

Then one day in February he came home to find May, her mother and the baby had disappeared in his truck. He told friends that he called and texted her dozens of times, to no avail.

All who knew him also said that his son “meant the world to him.”

“He’s big-hearted,’’ said a Miami-Dade police officer who socializes with him and acknowledges Simione can be loud and abrasive, and is bulked up from punching a speed bag two hours a day.

Simione, 39, who grew up in Broward, began his career as a Hollywood firefighter Sept. 18, 1995 and resigned Sept. 19, 2010.

About that time, he bought the home in Dania Beach and started his business, Bulldog Tactical Equipment LLC, a supplier of assault equipment to the military and law enforcement. Friends say he was able to do that after inventing a device called the Red Sled, a rescue litter, which sold well.

During his 15-year career, Simione received a few disciplinary actions for not showing up to work. On most of the evaluations, he received at least a 3 on a scale of 1-5.

Earlier in his career, supervisors warned him that he needed to work on his dealings with the public:

“FF Simione, while personable and pleasant, still persists in some behavior or interaction which may be construed as abrasive or inappropriate,” his supervisor wrote in an August 2002 evaluation.

Simione, apparently, did not take the advice to heart. According to the arrest warrant, he frequently said President Barack Obama should be assassinated because of his race. He also used racial epithets toward his employees.

Simione was convinced the U.S. government was going to collapse, or there would be a severe natural disaster, said Libman.

“He stockpiled ammunition like gold,” said Libman. “He said ammunition would be as good as money.”

He was prepared to bring family and friends to his safe house.

“He didn’t want to have to rely on the government,” Libman said.

Besides his massive gun and ammunition collection, Simione, who lived by himself with a big black dog, also stored food, antibiotics, first-aid supplies, survival gear, hunting supplies and protective equipment, Libman said.

“There is definitely something going on with him emotionally,” Libman said.

What was going on may have been the dissolution of his marriage.

In July, May Simione said she wanted a divorce. Last week, she went to his place of business, and told police her husband got into a fight with an employee. During a “violent outburst,” Jason Simione threw their child onto a table, causing a minor cut to the head.

Simione’s friends said he told them about the incident, saying he was berating an employee for smoking pot in the parking lot of the warehouse complex where Bulldog is located.

He told friends that the employee got aggressive with him as he held Jett, and that he told the employee: “Are you for real? I’ve got my kid in my hands!’’

They said he fired the employee.

Libman said the employee who came forward with the information about the murder-for-hire plot was not the one fired last week.

“He had everything to lose by cooperating with us,” said Libman, including risking his own job. “It wouldn’t make sense for him to make it up,” he said.

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