NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Floyd County investigators say a father tried to hire a hitman to kill his ex-wife, but the gunman shot him by mistake. 

The case started to unfold on Oct. 21 in Mark McCane’s Floyds Knobs home. A probable cause affidavit says 46-year-old Johnny Brown accidentally shot McCane in the back while cleaning a semi-automatic handgun in the kitchen of the home.

As deputies started sifting through that story, they learned the gun had been stolen and Brown, a convicted felon, shouldn’t have had it in the first place. So he started talking. 

“Brown cooperated fully from the beginning,” Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said. 

Brown told investigators McCane paid him $1,200 as a down payment to follow and eventually kill his ex wife, Dawn Wright.

“My client is innocent of the charges, and we think we have evidence that will show that to be true,” said McCane's attorney, Bart Betteau.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s office arrested McCane on Monday. Court records said Brown produced eight recorded phone conversations to back up his claims of a hired hit and said it wasn’t the first time McCane tried to have his ex-wife killed.

“In January 2015, Ms. Wright was with her child in a parking lot and an unknown assailant attempted to fire a weapon and it did not fire,” Henderson said. 

The incident happened outside of a Prospect day care center.

The couple married in 2006 and divorced in 2012. Divorce records indicate the split turned for the worse around the start of 2015.

Wright filed a petition to alter a custody agreement and move to Oldham County with their then 4-year-old son. She claimed in the filing that her ex-husband “endangered the child’s physical health.”  Wright ultimately took out a protection order against McCane, which was eventually dropped.

McCane pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and theft of a firearm during his first court appearance Tuesday.

The initial hearing, which typically lasts five minutes, ran nearly two hours. Henderson and Betteau squabbled over $25,100 which was removed from a safe at McCane’s home prior to Floyd County deputies executing a search warrant this week.

Betteau wanted to use the money to post his client’s bond. Henderson argued the cash was evidence, saying it’s what McCane intended to pay the hitman after the job was done.

“What you’ve heard is just the tip of the iceberg," Betteau said after the hearing. "There’s a whole lot of things going on, and there will be much more evidence presented, and once you’ve see that, I think you’ll see things from our position and that’s in fact no crime occurred. “

Floyd County Superior Court Judge Susan Orth ordered the funds turned over to the state. A hearing on the money is scheduled for Dec. 6, 2016.

McCane posted a $25,000 bond to get out of jail late Tuesday afternoon.

“Everyone has a right to live in peace regardless, of their family situation," Henderson said. "So we’re going to do our part and hold this individual accountable for what we believe he has done and hopefully give some peace to this family.”

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