4 allegedly planned to murder witness to 2016 shooting from Westchester County jail

WHITE PLAINS, Westchester County (WABC) -- Four people are accused of planning to murder the eyewitness to a 2016 shooting from jail in Westchester County.

Jason Garcia is accused of being the mastermind behind the alleged plot. Two of his girlfriends, Laquanna Kershaw and Cassaundra Dunham, are charged with attempted murder and conspiracy. Officials say Damien Rickard was going to carry out the murder.

"Their conspiracy was planned inside the Westchester County jail while awaiting trial," Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said.

Back in December 2016, two people were shot and seriously wounded outside what was then known as the Garden Bar in Mount Vernon. Both people survived.

Garcia, said to be a high-ranking gang member, was charged with ordering the shooting and was facing attempted murder, assault and weapons charges.

Officials say they learned from a confidential source that Garcia was using a smuggled cellphone in the jail to hatch the plot.

"Once we started to listen to that phone, that's when the real details about the plot developed," Chief of Investigations William Schaeffer said.

Investigators said the witness to the original shooting was made aware of the threat.

"That's why she was in protective custody, our protective custody, and she still is concerned," Scarpino said.

Both men were remanded and bail for Kershaw and Dunham was each set at $250,000.

Jail officials, greatly concerned that the small cellphone was not detected, say new technology for better detection will be installed next month.

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