- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2001

A key prosecution witness testified yesterday that he regrets three murders he committed in 1990 and said he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison after testifying in the death-penalty trial of Tommy Edelin and the racketeering trials of five co-defendants.
"I only have one life in prison," Thomas "Mussie" Sims, 24, testified in U.S. District Court. "I only have one life … because I understand what I did. They haven't admitted what they did."
It was Sims' sixth day of testimony in the trial, in which Mr. Edelin, 33, faces charges of conspiracy, racketeering, drug-dealing and 14 murders. His co-defendants father Earl "Tony" Edelin, Henry "Blue" Johnson, Shelton "Wah-Luck" Marbury, Marwin "Funky" Mosley and Bryan Bostick could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
In the ninth week of trial, defense attorneys bored in on Sims, a former associate of Tommy Edelin's who cooperated with federal investigators in exchange for a more lenient sentence. The defense attorneys asked Sims how his testimony could be believed after he admitted to having lied throughout his life, had been dealing drugs in the Stanton Dwellings community in the Southeast since he was 8 and had run guns in Prince George's County since he was 12.
Johnson's attorney, Richard Gilbert, pointed out that Sims is "the only witness" to testify that his client admitted committing the 1990 murders.
When defense attorney Mary Davis asked Sims whom he was focusing on in cooperating with the FBI, Sims said, "Tony was the target."
With a juvenile record of seven crimes and sentences in two reformatories by the time he was 18, Sims said he first agreed to cooperate with federal authorities on Dec. 13, 1996.
"At that point of time, I just wanted to get out," Sims said. "I wanted to see what [federal investigators] know."
For several months, he tried to incriminate dealers other than Tommy Edelin, and continued "hustling," especially in Maryland, where poorer quality drugs could be sold for more money, Sims said. He first planned to flee but "got caught up" in making money.
In March 1997, Sims shot Antonio "Bam" Thomas twice. Six months later, Sims plea-bargained and agreed to cooperate with the FBI, expecting that Mr. Thomas would recover and incriminate him. Mr. Thomas died in September 1998.
The FBI would take Sims from jail each morning, fit him with a hidden tape recorder and sometimes with a videotape recorder in the car it supplied. For several months, Sims had conversations with Tommy and Earl Edelin and with Johnson. Some of those audiotapes and videotapes have been played for the 16-member jury.
Sims said he then decided to flee to Jamaica, where he would build a house on some land. He testified that he shaved his head, turned off the audio and video recorders, ditched the vehicle and went to Clinton to meet a cousin who would take him to New York City for the flight to Jamaica.
Sims testified that "quite a lot of agents" met him in Clinton and "they were not very happy," adding that he suspects a friend told his former attorney that Sims was going to escape and the former attorney alerted the FBI.

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