MONTPELIER, Vt. – A Vermont killer serving a life sentence in a New Mexico prison sent two people cross-country to kill two men in Vermont, according to an affidavit from a New Mexico state police investigator.

The murders never took place. Instead, Dana Martin, who pleaded guilty to the 2000 slaying of a 15-year-old girl in Barre, alerted New Mexico authorities that the two men were on their way to Vermont to carry out his orders, Clinton Norris said in the affidavit. And both suspects were subsequently arrested, one on a probation violation, the other on conspiracy charges.

Norris, of the New Mexico State Police investigations bureau in Las Cruces, said Martin instructed the suspects to strangle the two intended targets with paisley neckties, the same kind used in Deanna Florucci’s death.

Norris’ affidavit identifies the targets by the initials P.L. and M.S. He did not say where in Vermont the intended targets live or why Martin wanted them dead.

The arrests took place this month. Authorities say Tanner Ruane, 23, and Mark Staake, 41, both of Albuquerque, N.M., got lost and drove to the U.S. Border post at Highgate Springs on Nov. 19. When they turned around to avoid entering Canada, they were approached by federal border agents who discovered Staake was wanted in New Mexico on a probation violation.

Staake, who had met Martin in the New Mexico prison, was then arrested by the Vermont State Police.

Ruane was released, but arrested the next day at a truck stop in Rotterdam, N.Y., after the New York State Police were alerted he was in the area and that a warrant out of New Mexico had been issued for his arrest on two charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and other charges.

After Staake’s arrest, Ruane reached Martin by telephone and Martin promised Ruane $2,500 per body part, the affidavit said.

Vermont State Police Maj. Ed Ledo, who arrested Martin in 2000 and heads the criminal division, said Wednesday the convict has a long history of claiming to have committed crimes he did not, as part of a longtime effort to be incarcerated in the federal prison system.