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Defense says Haynes Not Guilty of Premeditation
By Chris Gordon, Chief Correspondent
Tuesday, May 30, 2000; Page 5.2
Barry Boss, one of two court-appointed defense attorney for Willis Haynes told the jury they have to decide,"Is not what happened the night of January 27, 1996, but why it happened."
Boss suggests, "The answer will demonstrate that Mr. Haynes did not act with premeditation, thinking it over, doing an act that was deliberate."
Haynes was 18 at the time of the shootings and had "spent his entire young life subjected to the mental illnesses his parents suffered, which culminated in an act motivated by terror and blind commitment."
"Under heavy influence of alcohol and drugs, scared and confused he followed orders from Dunstin Higgs who was older." Boss explains that "throughout his life he had to follow orders of persons he feared the most." "He lived," in the words of the defense,"in a house of terror, fear and abuse."
"Mr. Higgs had the motive, brought the gun had the premeditation", argued Haynes' defense attorney.
This tactic may not result in the acquittal of Haynes on murder charges, but it may save him from execution, if the jury believes he did not act out of premeditation and malice. The jury which took weeks to select because they have to be qualified to return death penalty should facts warrant. If he's convicted of the crime they will have a second preceding to determine if the aggravating factors of this gruesome multiple murder using a gun outweighs the mitigating factors in Haynes life which could cause them to conclude he deserves a chance to live what could be a productive life in prison.
The case could turn on the testimony of Victor Gloria who will relate the events on the night and give the jury insight as to who was more culpable, the triggerman Haynes or Higgs who grabbed the gun, pressed it into his friends hand and wanted him to do the dirty work. 26 year old Dustin Higgs will face a separate trial in September.
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