- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Thomas "Mussie" Sims was 19 and his third shooting victim was dying when he determined that his former drug-dealing, firearm-wielding comrades didn't trust him and he decided to cooperate with the FBI.
"I was hot," Sims testified yesterday during a death-penalty trial in U.S. District Court. He said he was "afraid of being killed" by former associates because he knew too much and threatened their organization.
It was obvious from secret tape recordings played yesterday for the jury that Tommy Edelin and his father, Earl "Tony" Edelin, were cautious as they talked with him, Sims said. They said little that was incriminating and talked in street slang without direct reference to dealing drugs and slayings of opponents in a drug war with the Stanton Dwelling Crew, he said.
"This is not our normal type of conversation," testified Sims. "I'm hot. knows I'm hot, and that's why he's talking to me that way."
The two Edelins and four co-defendants are on trial on charges of racketeering, conspiracy, drug dealing and involvement in 14 murders. If convicted, Tommy Edelin could be sentenced to death. Earl Edelin, Henry "Blue" Johnson, Shelton "Wah-Luck" Marbury, Marwin "Funky" Mosley and Bryan Bostick could be sentenced to life imprisonment. Sims has mentioned all but Bostick in four days of testimony.
The FBI first suggested that Sims cooperate in combating the drug dealers when he was released on probation from his second firearms possession charge. He agreed, he testified yesterday, but then purposefully tried to mislead the FBI by meeting with Guy Banks, who used to be "around the neighborhood" but was not actively involved.
Then, Sims said, he got in a dispute over marijuana with Antonio "Bam" Thomas and learned that his former associates wanted "Bam" killed on suspicion that he had given information to an opponent, Edgar "Tweety" Watson.
In March 1997, Sims said he and an accomplice trailed "Bam." The accomplice, who was driving, rolled down the window and was going to shoot. Sims, remembering what he learned from Tony Edelin said, "What you doin' man? You aren't supposed to do it like that."
Sims and other witnesses have testified that Tony Edelin opposed drive-by shootings. Instead, Tony Edelin advised them to "touch" their targets with the barrels of their guns to be more certain that they would kill, witnesses have said.
"Bam" had been knocked down and was sitting on the ground when Sims took the gun, got out of the car and with his finger on the trigger, "slapped him. The gun went off," Sims testified.
That shot was not intentional, Sims said, but the second shot was when he stepped back and fired the gun again. "Bam" Thomas was still alive in September 1997 when Sims agreed to a plea bargain on racketeering charges.
After trying to work back into his old livelihood as a drug dealer and firearms supplier, Sims said he discovered he was "hot" and distrusted. He testified that he was worried that "Bam" would eventually be able to talk, and the FBI would learn "other things I had done."
Sims has testified that he became involved in drugs when he was 8, started peddling guns when he was 12 and previously shot and killed two other men. In his plea bargain, Sims has agreed to testify truthfully, although he will spend most of the rest of his life, if not all of his life, in prison. He turns 25 on July 29.
Sims said he was worried as he wore a recorder on his waist under his clothing when he went to Tommy Edelin's office at Drama City Records. Sure enough, Tommy Edelin hugged and patted him, but apparently did not feel the recorder, Sims testified.
Tommy Edelin declared, "I'm all music, man. That's all I'm doin' now … Besides, I'm doing all these positive things," testified Sims.
Sims said he was suspicious because "that's not his normal way of talkin'."

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