- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2000

A longtime criminal associate of convicted murderer Willis Mark Haynes yesterday reluctantly told a jury considering the death penalty that Haynes threatened a co-defendant in 1998, two years after killing three women near College Park, Md.

Ernest Bacon would not say why or how Haynes, 22, had threatened Victor Gloria, although U.S. District Court papers indicated Haynes wanted Gloria killed to prevent him from telling about the murders.

Bacon, who testified that he often saw Haynes dealing drugs, carrying a handgun and abusing his wife, would only say that he called to warn Gloria after Haynes made a "physical" threat to get Gloria.

Under questioning by Assistant State's Attorney Deborah Johnston, Bacon said he could not remember the exact words but, "I called [Gloria] and told him to watch [Haynes]."

A federal jury in the Greenbelt, Md., courthouse convicted Haynes on May 20 of kidnapping and the first-degree murders of Tamika Black, 19; Tanji Jackson, 21; and Mishann Chinn, 23, about 4 a.m. Jan. 27, 1996.

Because he killed the women and left their bodies on federal land along U.S. 197 between the National Agricultural Research Center and Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Haynes was tried in federal court.

Gloria pleaded guilty in December 1998 to "being an accessory after the fact" to the kidnappings and murders, and testified against Haynes.

Federal prosecutors also will seek the death penalty when Dustin John Higgs, 26, goes on trial in September.

The jury must decide if Haynes should be sentenced to death, or to prison for life without parole. The sentencing is expected to conclude in the third week of June.

Prosecutors are calling witnesses to detail Haynes' life of drug dealing and carrying firearms.

Yesterday, Carla Muth, 49, formerly of Laurel, Md., testified that Haynes "barged" into her home on Oct. 18, 1997, and threatened to kill her husband, Paul, for not paying $300 owed for drugs.

Mrs. Muth testified that her husband drove Haynes, who had no car, around to deal drugs in exchange for money and drugs.

At most, Mrs. Muth said, they would get "an eight-ball," an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, and "We'd play the game of buying just a little bit that would be enough but it was never enough."

Mrs. Muth said she began smoking marijuana 31 years ago and has served two years' probation for drug possession, during which she believes she broke her addiction.

Howard County, Md., police Cpl. Darrin Chambers testified he arrested Haynes on Nov. 22, 1996, and charged him with firearms possession after finding a .45-caliber handgun after a failed drug surveillance.

The state charge was dropped after Haynes pleaded guilty in federal court, he said.

Prince George's County police Detective Dennis Briggs testified he arrested and charged Haynes after finding a "belly band" holster and a semiautomatic pistol in a car occupied by Haynes and another associate on June 4, 1997.

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