A Los Osos man accused of attempting to hire someone to murder another man was involved a bitter dispute with a former business acquaintance and competitor, according to court records.
Anthony Gene “Tony” Stevens, who now sits in SLO County Jail on two counts of solicitation of murder, ran T. Stevens Moving Services and was embroiled in a nearly year-long conflict with a former business-associate-turned-competitor, Aaron Stireman, last year. That conflict spilled into the county court system after Stevens attempted to file a restraining order against Stireman, according to court records obtained by New Times.
In a request for a restraining order filed in late September 2015, Stevens claimed that Stireman—whom he says he first began working with in 2014—was flagging his moving business ads for removal on Craigslist, and slandering his reputation.
“He has disturbed my peace, and I feel my business has slowed due to his harassment,” Stevens wrote.
But in a response filed in October 2015, Stireman disputed the allegations, stating it was Stevens who had been harassing him. Stireman claimed that Stevens flagged Craigslist ads for his moving company and badmouthed him to customers and other movers in the area. Stiremen said Stevens became “absolutely obsessed” with waging war against him.
“This civil harassment restraining order is just the next step of retribution [Stevens] has sought with me ever since I started a competing business,” Stireman wrote.
According to court records, Stevens withdrew his request for a restraining order on Oct. 15.
Stireman’s response to the court also alleged bizarre and vindictive behavior on Stevens’ part, claiming that he was quick to anger and vindictive, and showed him multiple weapons on some occasions, including pepper spray, a Taser, and “various bladed objects.”
Andre Jackson, an acquaintance who worked with both Stevens and Stireman, made similar claims in a written statement included with the court documents, saying that Stevens’ truck was “full of knives.”
“He always talks about sick jokes and using his bow and arrows to hit targets and never be heard or seen,” Jackson stated. “So I mean what kind of man would need all that stuff?”
A statement by another acquaintance of the two men, Damon Hyde, also characterized Stevens as someone who would occasionally overreact and become “irrational.” Jackson told New Times that he wasn’t surprised by the criminal charges leveled against Stevens.
“He has a history of kind of being a weird guy,” Jackson said.
It is not known if Stireman was the intended victim of Stevens’ murder-for-hire plot. SLO
police officials declined to confirm any information outside of a press release issued shortly after Stevens’ Feb. 2 arrest, which described the victim as a “business associate.”
Stireman did not return a message from New Times seeking comment on the matter.
Stevens remains in SLO County Jail on $1 million bond. His next court appearance was slated for Feb. 11.