Monday, July 22, 2019 Elyria 69°
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Cops and Courts

New evidence revealed in Elyria killing-for-hire case

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    Bruce Arnoff

    PROVIDED PHOTO

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    John Sullivan

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    Patrick Gall

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ELYRIA — Bruce Arnoff told another man that he needed to get the hard drive out of a security DVR at an Elyria shopping plaza because he believed it would “implicate him in the murder” of Willie Fisher in July, according to court documents.

Last week a series of search warrants pertaining to the murder of Fisher were unsealed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Fisher was killed July 6 near Convenient Food Mart on East Avenue, and three men — Arnoff, 56, of Solon, John Sullivan, 30, and Patrick Gall, 19, both of East Cleveland — have been arrested and indicted in connection with the murder-for-hire plot.

Police have said Arnoff paid Sullivan and Gall $500 to kill Fisher. In July, prosecutors in Elyria Municipal Court said the shooting of Fisher had been caught on video by security cameras.

The search warrants released last week, which all were signed and sealed by Judge Chris Cook on July 10, authorized police to search vehicles, phone records, personal effects and a cell phone belonging to Arnoff in connection with the investigation into the slaying of Fisher.

Police said that Arnoff was Fisher’s boss and brought Fisher to the shopping plaza at 1401 East Ave. to work on landscaping around the building. Both men worked on pulling weeds, trimming grass and picking up garbage on July 6, according to the warrants.

About 4:02 p.m. a black BMW registered to a security company owned by Arnoff pulled into the parking lot and drove to the rear of the shopping plaza. The vehicle eventually parked in front of the plaza and two men got out of the BMW after a few minutes and went into Convenient Food Mart, according to the warrant.

The men got back in the car and parked in front of another business at the plaza about 4:14 p.m. Police said Arnoff walked up to the BMW about 4:33 p.m. and spoke to the front-seat passenger, who was identified as Gall. He then went to the driver’s side and spoke with Sullivan, who was driving the vehicle, the warrant said.

Arnoff was seen walking away from the vehicle, talking on a cell phone. The BMW then left the parking lot and drove down East Avenue around 4:34 p.m. During that time, another camera showed Fisher cutting weeds with a trimmer and Arnoff began picking up trash and pulling weeds near him.

Arnoff was seen leaving the shopping plaza about 4:56 p.m. in a red Nissan, the warrant said.

Sullivan and Gall returned to the building about 6:04 p.m. and Sullivan could be seen talking on a cell phone. Sullivan then showed Gall “where he was going to hide in order to ambush Fisher” before hiding in the woods, the warrant said.

At 6:09 p.m., Gall was seen walking around the building toward East Avenue. Gall and Fisher were then seen walking to the area of the woods from the south side of the building followed by the shooting, which took place at 6:11 p.m., according to the warrant.

Gall and Sullivan were caught on camera running away from the wooded area and left in the BMW at 6:12 p.m., the warrant said.

Less than four hours later, Sullivan and Gall were stopped by Brooklyn police on Interstate 480 for an unrelated traffic stop. While Gall was released, Sullivan was held on an unrelated warrant out of Maple Heights; he was also charged with having weapons under disability.

The following day, Arnoff spoke with his client on the phone where Arnoff told the man “he needed to get the DVR taken out of the day care (located in the shopping plaza) because it would implicate him in the murder since they used his BMW and it would be on video,” the warrant said.

Unbeknownst to Arnoff, the client had agreed to allow Elyria police to listen in on the calls on a muted line.

The client also agreed to wear a wire for police and met Arnoff at the day care later in the day on July 7. At that time, Arnoff changed out the hard drive in the DVR and removed the hard drive that contained footage of the murder and put it in the trunk of the red Nissan, which detectives observed.

Elyria police conducted a traffic stop on Arnoff’s red Nissan a short time later, arrested Arnoff and recovered the hard drive from the trunk of the vehicle.

During an interview with detectives after his arrest, Arnoff told police where the black BMW was, and police recovered the vehicle from a parking lot near a Lowe’s Home Improvement on Northcliff Avenue in Brooklyn. The vehicle was impounded at the Elyria Police Department along with the red Nissan.

Arnoff also told police he withdrew $500 from an ATM on Pearl Road in Cleveland and gave the money to Sullivan and Gall “for hire,” the warrant said.

Gall was arrested the following week after a standoff at his East Cleveland home with U.S. Marshals. Police originally put out a warrant for the wrong man, after Gall used another man’s identity during the traffic stop with Brooklyn police the night of the shooting.

A warrant was issued in Elyria Municipal Court for Sullivan’s arrest July 10, but he was in custody in Cuyahoga County on the weapons charge stemming from the Brooklyn traffic stop. The case was resolved in August when Sullivan pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Last month, all three were indicted on charges in connection to Fisher’s death.

Arnoff was indicted on complicity charges, including three counts of complicity to aggravated murder, four counts of complicity to murder, six counts of complicity to felonious assault and two counts of tampering with evidence.

Sullivan and Gall were indicted on charges of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence. Sullivan also faces a count of having weapons under disability since he previously had a felony conviction that prohibited him from having a firearm.

Arnoff and Gall are both being held in Lorain County Jail on $2 million bonds. Sullivan, whom police have said is believed to have pulled the trigger, is being held on $2.5 million bond.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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