Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

We Leave You Our Deaths

We Leave You Our Deaths

Wed, 06 Jan 2021 08:00

3 young women, all friends, found dead in a park. A license plate, a ruse, and a federal sting.

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. These girls were killed for no reason. When I saw the news announcement, I said to myself, man, I wouldn't love to help out on that case. And lo and behold, well, not only did I help out on it, I was able to find out what really happened. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Glassie former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. Today's story is a great example of how, in a homicide case, a few small clues may at first seem insignificant. But connecting those dots, if you will, helped a team of investigators bring a triple murder into focus, things that you might think don't matter at all, but that is the piece that makes everything else fit well, today's case was made because of how police had to go through some truly unique ways to pull off the small parts. In a very big way. So in today's story, you're about to hear the voice of Ted Jones. He's a veteran Maryland State trooper, and here's some interesting facts. It wasn't the lead investigator in this case. To this day, he's never even met the victims families. He heard about what happened in this case, just like most other people do. 6:00 o'clock, you know, going through my routine, coughing, all that stuff, shower and so I had the Morning News on. And the announcer spoke of a horrific spine. Overnight, a motorist is driving along the highway, encounters what he initially believes were three mannequins. But upon further investigation, of course, they weren't mannequins. They were the bodies of three victims. It was January 27th, 1996. They were three young women. Tanji Jackson. She was 21 and she worked at a high school. Tamika Black, 19, and she was a teacher's aide. For private school in Washington DC, and Mishawn Chin, who was 23 and worked with a children's choir. And all three of these young women were friends. In fact, two of them, Tonji and Tamika. They've been best friends since grade school. You know, what could these young women believed to be in their early 20s? What could they have possibly done to warrant that type of faith? These three young women, they all worked with kids in some way. But even more importantly, there was nothing about their lives that appeared than any way that their lives invited violence. And so everyone was focused on what happened to them from the start. And for Ted Jones, it affected him even more so because of something in his past. Maybe a month or so prior to that I lost a relative to domestic violence. Niece was murdered by her husband. And so of course in that case we know who was responsible and it was her husband. But in the case of the girls, we had no idea. So they could have certainly been my sisters, my nieces. The ethnicity did not matter, even women. So the investigation obviously begins at the crime scene where the bodies were found. It was an isolated stretch of Route 197 inside a National Wildlife Refuge in Prince George's County. This is a dog isolated stretch of Rd. There are no St lamps or any of this. The only light you have the likes of the vehicles going back and forth and the location actually was not far from our university, where we State University from was relatively nil. In that area. Now, Anna Segal, what does that crime scene, or the location of where the bodies were found, say to you? The obvious thing is that it's a really quiet stretch of Rd. Just on its face, you hear these things. It's the type of place that, unfortunately, you think of that, you know, serial killers dump bodies. Of course, it's anybody's guess as to where they were on their way to, you know, where they ask from the club. Was it a serial murderer? As the investigation of the bodies began, police realized that Tangine Tamika were both shot at least once in the chest and Mishawn was shot in the back of the head. Now, clearly just from those details, this appears to be an execution. It was concerned that they were shot with a I think it was a 38 revolver. I don't remember which one of the girls were there. Actually, a car ran over their head. That's super collusion. And there was more. Tanji appeared to have been severely beaten. Mishani's face was slashed. These are personal. Brutal attacks. The police were able to determine the type of weapon used in these brutal murders because they were able to locate a 38 caliber projectile at the scene. They call it a wadcutter. So from that they were able to determine that was the weapon that was likely used on all three victims. Also, they noticed that the scene was so drenched with blood, the fire department was called to wash the stains away, which is really just horrible if you think about that. Just the image of that says so much, and I have to put my lawyer hat on to at least use the lawyerly word of jurisdiction here because that did make a big difference in this case. Jurisdiction is where a crime falls into, whether it's state police or federal county. And here where they were found, this National Wildlife refugee, it really factored in into the big picture of this case because that was federal land, so it wasn't going to be Prince George's County state troopers. That took over this case, it was going to be the federal authorities and in this case it's the United States Park Police that cover those lands. So they took over this case right from the get go. This was not my case at that particular time. I'm a state trooper, absolutely no jurisdiction whatsoever to investigate the case. So just as well occurred in Miami or LA and I will say to you want to see, it is so rare for a Park Police to investigate a homicide, I mean normally. Those fall into the jurisdiction, as you said to state police, city police, you know, local cops. Those are the detectives who worked multiple cases at a time. But I really have never in my career have ever heard of a Park Police having to to work a full blown homicide, let alone a triple murder case. I haven't either. I mean when I saw it at first I just assumed that it would be FBI and I think that's what a lot of the local authorities thought too. But it is the US parks police that have that jurisdiction and so the US Park Police, they wanted to take it on and they took it on. Head on. Right from the beginning, you would think that they'd want to use resources from the locals. But they did take it on by themselves from the beginning. And what they did first was start to develop, which normally happens in a homicide investigation, is the timeline. And that didn't take them very long. Tamika had left her mom's house that day, between 11:00 and 11:30, actually, that night. And she was with her two friends, Tanji and Mishan. The women had planned to go out to a club in Washington DC, and the area outside. The night spot where they had been, that was a place that had seen its share of violence or been several shootings there in the area. There had been an abduction and even a rape. But the women they didn't leave alone. They were together. The one thing that they could get from people at the club was that the women were picked up by men who were outside. They saw a car honking. The men never got out, but the women did get into the car. And according to one of the women's moms, when they left to go out to the club that night, they had seen the girls get into a blue van. Clearly, this is our first lead, right? We know the girls left the apartment together. We know they got into a vehicle with some men and we know the vehicle left at a certain time. So clearly, we need to establish who are these people? And when you think about it, I mean, right away my head goes to this club that we know. There's been a lot of violence. You know, there's often drinking and other things that go on at clubs that leads tempers to go and people can be sometimes up to no good that, you know, I don't know, did the women leave and. Someone picked them up. We've been watching them at the club and then just bring them out there into the night. I mean, it's just so strange though, because it's not 1, which is what you'd expect with a crime like this, but it's three and the three who left together are then found dead together. Perfect. Three young women shot to death and discarded along the highway. You know, like, like garbage. So going back to the crime scene, Park Police did find a piece of evidence that they believe could lead to a killer. There's a piece of paper found in tangy Jackson's purse. Tangy had a handwritten note inside her address book, and it said bones, and it had an address and a license plate number. And obviously having a name and an address book is normal, but to have a license plate number next to the name? That is not normal. And that stood out like a big red flag. So the police now have a license plate tag number. So the question's going to be, is this a lead or could it be nothing, just something she wrote down like you might write down in an address book? And that license plate went back to a Mazda MPV van, and I'm sure investigators were thinking about, Wow, a van, you were going to have six passengers or multiple passengers. Leaving the girl's house that night, there were three girls and and a few guys. So this van could be connected to this case and this could actually be a very big break. You want everything to be something and something big, but so often, as we know in these cases, it ends up being nothing. It's just maybe a license plate number of a friend of hers that she wrote down. I don't know, maybe she had to do something for parking one day or whatever the reason, but they just don't know. And they won't know until they track it down. And they did. Very quickly, the Park Police investigators go to the registered owner who conveys that, yeah, that's my vehicle, but my son Dustin drives it. The car came back to a woman who said it was driven by her son guy by the name of Dustin Higgs. And police went and quickly found Dustin Higgs. Yeah, they show up at his apartment who says, yeah, I know what you're talking about. Yeah, that's my tag number. I don't know why she had it. He said, Oh yeah, I do. I drive this car all the time. It's my moms. And not only that, I do. I know tanji Jackson. And he said he may even have spoken to her the night before her murder. But he also went on to say, but the rest of that night, I wasn't alone. I was with my girlfriend. He was at a party with his girlfriend, Phyllis Smith, and he knew about the murders. After watching the 10:00 O'clock News on the 27th, he was sitting with her and someone else that they're watching the news they see about the murders. And he says that he thinks he knows one of them, the tanji girl. And then, of course, police went and said, great, but can we believe him? So what did they do next? They went to the girlfriend, and she corroborated everything that he said. She said that he had been with her all night, and she even then said, hey, it's not just me. I had family there, too. And so police, they went and spoke to family too, and everyone said the same thing. Yeah, he was with us all night. Sounds like a really solid alibi, but is it? It sounded like it was, but ultimately it wasn't. They executed a search warrant of Hicks's residence because. They believed he was involved in several bank fraud violations and while they went into the home and they got a variety of documents, cash bundles, they also found drugs, A380 semi automatic gun, a box of ammunition for a 38045 and 38 caliber weapons and he was arrested on federal drug charges. And then very quickly the girlfriend said, you know what? What I said not true all along. They pulled her into the grand jury and she recanted and admitted that he had only been with her at 5:00 AM that morning of the 27th. I think it's important to talk anesthesia about building a case which may not be in relations directly with a homicide, but it gives you an opportunity to bring somebody in and put the pressure on to try to get the most accurate information, the truth, from somebody. It is pivotal in so many cases, you know, if we just bought what people told us, hook, line and sinker. There will be many, many less cases that are solved because while many people are truthful and accurate, unfortunately many are not. And it's not always for sinister reasons. It's not always because they think that they're covering up for homicide. They think that they're helping someone in some other way. You know, here, for example, Higgs's girlfriend, she thought she was helping him out with drugs. Now that's bad. She's lying. But she said that, you know, I knew there was drugs in the apartment, and so I didn't want to get in trouble for that and what he's been up to. And so that's why I lied. And when she only knew that police were actually there inquiring about something else that she said, you know what? This is bigger than me and what I'm willing to be involved in. And that's when she came clean. So Higgs pleads guilty to the possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and it was ultimately sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for that charge. But of course, we're not here talking about that case. We're here talking about a triple murder. So when we talk about the weapons and the types of weapons that were recovered from the search warrant. Clearly you hear 38 caliber, you're thinking, wait a second, is there a direct connection between this triple murder and that weapon? And police could say they projectile was a 38 caliber, but they couldn't definitively say it was a match. So when I read it though, it's like they can't. It's not an actual match, right? It's consistent, but it's not enough because also their shot with the revolver, the ladies, so they don't even have the shell casings, right? It's an automatic, ejects the shell casing, a revolver of the shell casing stays in the weapon. Right. They can say it's the same caliber and there are various markings that lead them to say it's consistent. That's not going to get you over the finish line, something to put in your pocket, but they have to keep going. And a defense attorney could say, yeah, they were both similar brand of weapons that leave similar brand of markings, but it's in the end not enough to connect the two weapons or the two projectiles to our homicide. And a 38 caliber is a very often used weapon, so they have to keep digging, but then they had nothing. For almost 18 months, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force is put together with various different jurisdictions within the areas. There's more than 100 of them now in cities all over the country and as a prosecutor and even law enforcement working on a case mean we love task forces, because what do we get with task forces? We get resources. Whether it is more bodies that are assigned to a specific case, they're concentrated on that specific crime, or whether it's a type of crime or one case, we'll always take as much help as we can. FBI Violent Crimes Task Force out of the Baltimore office, not sitting around looking for cases to work. You're not trolling your thumbs looking for cases. So in my experience, I have worked on task forces before. The one I was involved with directly was a fugitive task force with the US Marshall Service. But the reason why task force are so important and Sega is because as a local cop, you know the local bad guys and you know, you have your own snitches, you have your own informants. So ultimately, as a fed reaching out to a local guy, the local guys give great color to the community and they really know who's doing what. They know where people hide out. They know who they're known as. Societes are O when you connect the feds with the local department and they're part of a certain task force, their resources, not only on the federal side are great, but the abundance of information is incredibly worthy. I get a call, I'm having headquarters and the major cause hey, I'm going to send you down to work. That task force, we're going to look at a number of cases that's been unsolved. It started out as a one year sign state for 10 years. And here's where it gets. Interesting. It connects to this case, so they're looking at all different cases. Ted Jones gets there and he is assigned to a case that they clean up very quickly. And then he's asked to help out with this other case, another case he knew very well because it was the case about the girls. From what I remember clearly you know, how could you forget? Watching that on the news, right? So that Monday morning I joined the team of God that's already working. OK, So what is our next move? While investigators had been interested in Hicks and looking at him, they never really had enough on him. So what do they do, Scott, as we ought to know, you have to go to people that are associated with your targets or your suspects, because maybe that's another way to figure out if they're going in the right direction or not. Law enforcement, then start looking at his associates. One of his associates being. What was hangs, who was a local marijuana dealer, and police were very familiar with him. In fact, undercover officers building cases against him and some of his other associates had bought marijuana from him multiple times. But if they end up getting enough and he's charged with that, as so often happens, maybe he's willing to talk to them about Hicks to try to help himself. They've made a number of buys from him. Small amounts of weed, not enough to get a search warrant. Whenever he is transacting business, he has another subject with him who is sometimes operating as his real man. He's driving the car. And on one or two occasions, he actually served the customers himself. No idea what, if any, involvement they have with the murder of girls. So they're looking at Haynes for these marijuana sales, but with that, they also see that the car that he's driving that he's selling out of, has temporary tags. I said, OK, wow. I said, well, listen, I said, let's go up there to the car dealership and let's see if we can find out. If you get a chance to go to the dealership, there may be. A plethora of information about your suspect and so we get to the dealership and talk to the managers. He has like 3 purchase folders, the oldest. The first one, nothing jumps out, he opens up. The second one, nothing jumps out, he opens up the third one. Our colleague says, hey, that's him right there. Inside of the purchase folder, sometimes they'll have a copy of the drivers license and says well it's a picture of him, but it's someone elses information. So this suspect is using the name of Kenny Satan. And when they look at how he paid for that cars with a check, a bad check, so forget the marijuana. Now they've got someone that's basically stealing a car under this presumed identity with a bad check. He wrote a $500.00 deposit, which came back on a closed account. Well, as you know, that's not an insufficient time. That's an automatic fact. After we found out he ripped that bad check, and I said I will, we'll go get a warrant for him. So get a call from the dealership. That the guy you guys were talking about is calling to get his heart tags? What should we do? I said, well, Stalin, you know, tell him someone, I'll call him back. So I'm in the office and I said, hey guys, we know we need to put together an operation if we can at least get his fingerprints. Police had a plan. They planned a sting operation with their agents posing as customers and workers to try to lure hangs in telling him, do you know that temporary tell you got in the car while the actual physical plate has come in. So let's set up an appointment. Why don't you come on in and we'll get you the tags. They're hoping to get that person that comes in when they touch the paperwork to give their fingerprints and fingerprints. As you know, except for identical twins, it only comes back to one. And so that person, if they can prove that that's actually Willis Haynes, then it's a home run and then hopefully they're off to the races. Man and Ted Jones was the right man for the job to set this next plan into motion. Ted Jones had worked undercover work before. In fact, he even had an alias. They called him Fred McNeil. I'm a con man. I could talk my way out of it. I went into jail as an inmate on a murder case. Nobody in the whole jail knows that I am a state trooper. That's the level of undercover stuff I've done. And I always loved, you know, when I was in narcotics and I worked with a lot of the undercovers, I always thought that it was just a really cool part of the work. And yes, it's absolutely dangerous, but it takes, like he says, got a really specific skill set. This is a different type of danger. And it's just the type of thing that when I always hear it, I'm like, wow, you better know how to handle yourself, not in terms of pulling on a Navy SEAL move and karate chopping 4-5 guys. But you got to know how to talk to people. You got to have the right temperament. I'm out there. On the cooperation and I have my 40 caliber handgun in a newspaper, and I am very aware of this. I'm very aware of the fact that I'm not the only one out there with a gun, and that their guns are probably much more larger than mine, with a whole lot more firepower. Undercover officers put themselves in the most dangerous positions out there. They're police officers not wearing body armor. They're police officers not carrying guns. And the only thing they have? Is there wit and their skill? And this was a dangerous operation. The person that you're targeting could show up with multiple weapons that could actually show up with multiple people. Or maybe you pulled them over five years ago. When you're in uniform and they recognize you in every one of these undercover operations, you hope everything to go by the book, but in this case that didn't happen. Alright, so now operation is on. This is a tactical operation and I picture them setting it up like something you see in the movies. You know, you see the FBI come in with their windbreakers with the big yellow FBI across the back and they take over 2 rooms and they wire both rooms. They have them set for sound. They have them set with visuals because they want to capture everything recorded that he's saying. They also want to make sure the person that they're going to have on the inside their agent is safe. But you could just picture all of them descending on this car dealership and I just picture the guys that are walking in there like, wow, what a cool day, 7:45. I'm actually donning AT shirt of the dealership logo and I'm sitting behind the counter amongst other employees. And so the other employees had no clue who I was, then asked me question. They were busy doing their thing and just as a side note to explain a tiny bit more. So they're setting up a sting operation to hopefully get the person's fingerprints that'll come in and then. See if that leads back to the guy who they know who's been selling drugs out of the car and the picture they see in that driver's license, Willis Haynes, and there is a phase two-part of this operation is once he comes in and recovers the plate and they get what they need from him. The plan was to follow him back to his home to try to recover evidence using a search warrant. But when he comes through the door I can actually see him. But he of course has no idea who I am and so he asked the receptionist for Fred McNeil. The receptionist announced over the loudspeaker. Brett McNeil, Brett McNeil, you have a customer in the lobby, said McNeil. And this is all looking legitimate. So I grabbed my clipboard and I come through the door and now he has another guy with him. Have no idea who that is. No idea who that is. Investigators, agents, everyone inside had to then now take into consideration we've got two targets within the dealership. Go back to my desk and I have my radio, my call out to everybody and said, hey, be prepared. Subject Confirmed in the lobby. I said, you know, unidentified subject with him, stand by, operations underway. Turn off the radio, come out through the door and now I'm walking and he's walking alongside me and so it's the other guy. So I stopped at the whole wait a minute. I said, who is this guy? He's my man. I said, well, your man's gonna have to stay up front, OK? This is just, you know, you and me. So he needs to stand for. Oh yeah. OK. I'm sorry. No problem. I'm saying no big deal. Said grab some coffee, young man. We won't be long. So we go back. And as soon as he sat down in his chair, of course he's on video. I come in and sit down. Hey, how's it been going? Fine, fine, fine, he said. I said, listen, we were trying to reach your references on the initial application. And it doesn't seem like they've been successful. Ohh, really? Really. Oh, man. You know, he said no, no one's called me. I said, well, I think they have tried to call. I said, do you have a girlfriend or something? Maybe she's not getting your messages. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. She's actually been upset with me because, you know, I've been staying out late, you know, you know how women are. OK, yeah. I'll be working. I'm a technician. I work all kinds of hours, OK? Nowhere in anything I read. He was he employed, especially as a technician. Thank you so much. I said, OK, well, write down 3 references that we can call. We'll call them later, 3, taking the paper. And of course, he's putting his fingerprints on it and, you know, trying to brace it and stuff. And so it's all going good. So then he he goes to hand it to him and he said no, no, no. I said, you need to sign it. You're hearing that they want his fingerprints, but yet they're saying he has to sign. So the question maybe is why? And it's really two-part here is that one they want him to sign because they're locking him in to that assumed identity that Kenny Fagan. Well, that's a crime in this context. But Ted Jones has to be so careful with the handling of that paper because what they really want to get is the guy that signing is his fingerprints. And so you only want to make sure that there is one set of prints on that paper and not more, and there's no confusion. Or nothing that can be attacked down the road. We just found the bottom of it and so. Bone. So that piece of paper, he's signing one name, but the fingerprints prove that he's somebody else. And right there that is the identity theft. But we're not done yet because we got phase two of this operation. We're going to tell the car we're going to follow Haynes back to wherever he's going so we can gain more information about Willis Haynes. And so phase one complete, he goes, he gets his tag, he walks out, course I stay behind and make sure everything is finished processed. Right. And I watched him leave. You know, I see it, the radio traffic where the surveillance guys are picking them up and probably not. 4-5 minutes into phase two surveillance part, I hear someone says, hey, we lost them, we lost them. Haynes was able to shake the tail, and Haynes was able to elude them, and they lost him and I can just picture the looks on their faces when that car is no longer in their sights. I mean, I must admit, and assegai in my career have lost vehicles that I've been following, and I think a lot of it. Has to do with not wanting to stick out, not wanting to go through a red light, not wanting to cause someone around you to skid that would bring attention to your car. So go and behold, Monday morning supervisor calls me is 5:00 o'clock in the morning, 5530 says hey, his fingerprints ultimately made it to headquarters, positively identifying those fingerprints as belonging to Willis Haines, not Kenny Fagan, and thanks to the original investigator who had been buying the drugs from him, the narcotic side of this. He was able to follow him on one of those occasions to a residence in a gated community that he was using to sleep and there he was using the name Kenny Fagan. And we hit the house. He's in there by himself and very sparsely furnished. Apt, I think, was a TV in there, maybe one or two things in the fridge. No couch, it's a mattress on the floor and that's it. Sends me of kind of a flophouse, just a place that they go to potentially to store weapons, to store drugs, but really not to live in. In the closet, we find a magazine for a 9 millimeter handgun. The girls were killed with the 38 and so that was not the murder weapon. They did have enough to arrest Willie Haynes and his driver, a guy by the name of Victor Gloria, and bring them both in. Victor Gloria was haynes's wheelman, someone that drove him around and someone that was involved in his drug peddling. So when they brought him in, they decided they were going to take a unique approach to gain information about them. And part of that is not always necessarily telling someone right off the bat why they're there. I mean, they knew that they'd been arresting them on drug charges, but they were trying to get up the tree. The pigs for this triple homicide. So they didn't even tell Gloria what he was arrested for right off the bat. So Jones is going to have an opportunity to talk to Victor, Gloria. So Gloria is being escorted through the building, up the elevator, and then something unique happens. Doors open, they step off. I come out, heading towards. And they stop. And good morning, gentlemen. So he stopped to look at me. He starts to he's now trying to figure out where he's staying. And then I say, young man, what's what's up? I said you. You act like you know me from somewhere. You're looking at me like that. You said no, no, no. You can't look familiar. I think you think you know me from somewhere. No, no, no, I'm just just kind of looks familiar. I said. I'll give you a hint. I used to sell cars. Victor Gloria was the person who accompanied Willis Haynes at the dealership. Oh my gosh. Then he mentioned the name of the local dealership. I said yeah, yeah. Actually, I'm true for Jones State police and you're here and FBI building, but I just wanted to share that with you. Ted is adding the groundwork for his interview of Gloria. He's making sure that Gloria knows this is serious. This is part of an FBI investigation. You're not dealing with just any investigators. Ted Jones is the guy who won up them before. I'm not going to a lot of you and I'm not going to allow you a lot of me. Let's get that established. You understand? Yes, Sir. I said. But, you know, before we get started. I said. Do you have any idea as to why you're here? He said. It's about those girls. We have to stop here because this is the screech on the record player. They have them for the drugs. They're trying to get to Higgs. And then he says it's about the girls. Wow. I said, yeah, he could have said, I don't know. I don't know why I'm here. Why? Why am I telling you would tell me why I'm here? Right. So you have to think about Ted Jones for a moment because while you can picture his face, he must have wanted to pick his head right up and, like, jump, like, Oh my gosh, did not see this coming at all. But he has to react very differently, you know, he has to be calm and cool and collected. Because the only place that this is going, if it's going to go somewhere good, is if he seems totally nonplus like he expects it, and he just goes with the conversation. And that's exactly what Ted Jones did. Oh my gosh, now I have to be cool. I have to be cool, I said. Well, yeah, I said. As a matter of fact, it is about those girls. I said. You didn't think we forgot about that, did you? Oh no, no, no. And then he gave me the whole, the whole story. He laid out what no one had lost up to that point knew about how those girls were killed and why. And the only reason that he was aware of what had happened was because he was there. Session to Jones Gloria laid out exactly in graphic detail what happened on the night of January 26th, 1996. He made it clear that Higgs and tangy both knew each other and it was their idea to get together. Higgs telling. Tangy. Get a couple of friends, I'll get a couple of friends and wanted to come over to the apartment and we'll hang out and party. And then at some point, when the three women of three men are there, the three women Tamika, Tanji and Mishan. And the men will use their last names. Hans Higgs and Gloria and Higgs and Tanji began to argue. Actually, actually assaulted her. He wanted to have sex with her. She did not come over there to have sex. He slapped her across the face. She slaps him back. Brief altercation, they're separated, she says. I'm out of here. I didn't come over here for this. Tanji goes downstairs, opens her purse and writes down Dustin Hicks tag number and she said on her way out. I know some guys that will take care of you. And when she leaves out, the other two girls are saying, well, hey, we're not going to stay here. We don't know you guys. The girls men had started walking away from the apartment, I guess trying to make their way back into Washington DC. Jigsaw, tangy, write something down. And he was furious. So he got the rest of the guys to get to the van to try to catch up to the girls and they pull alongside of them. Allegedly apologized. The bygones be bygones will take your home. They get in the car, so as they're robbing along he pulls over. And the girls ask, are you guys putting this out and they respond, yeah, something like that. So at this point in time. Dust and hags. According to the confession that I got, Dustin hands the gun to Williston says take care of. He gets out, opens the middle door, girls are screaming, and he grabs make a black first. Pulls her out. She gets out. She's able to go one or two steps. She shoots her in the head. She solves, you know, you imagine the absolute para. That these girls are are going through. Sean Chen I believe was the second one shot and he gets her out and she still runs a short distance shadow twice in the back of the head. And now you have been you, Jack. You know, you just witnessed the murder of your two girlfriends, but you know what's coming next. After firing a few more shots, Hained gets into the van and shuts the door. They go down to the Anacostia River in DC and discard the gun. They throw the gun in the river. They then draw. They go back to the apartment and they are wiping down places in the apartment that they think the girls may have touched, the glasses and whatever. I mean, here they're clearly trying to clean up the crime scene. The men then left the apartment and dropped Gloria off when he was told by Higgs to keep his mouth shut and Assiga. This is just an incredible confession and what a brutal crime. You know, I've read this multiple times and getting ready for our conversation and looking at this case and. It reminds me of a case I did myself that was very similar, and I just think of the unnecessary Ness of it all. And so when he wrote it out, man, I came out of the room, guys. We got it, we got it. We got it. Now they had enough. Not against one, but against three. The fact that you had this incredible confession, you still had to prove the case with your other two defendants. What were their involvements? You're putting guns in people's hands. You're saying that someone murdered. Somebody else. There's still some work to be done behind the scenes, so you have this confession. It's so detailed, but makes all these other little seemingly innocuous things start to fit. And remember, when back they're speaking to Higgs's girlfriend, Phyllis Smith, and she says that while they're sitting there watching television, that Higgs says they watch the news about the girls dying. That he says that he thought he knew tanji one of the girls. Well, what investigators knew was at that time, they had never released the names of the victims. So how would he have known that one of them was tanji unless he was there? All three men were arrested. Victor Gloria agreed to cooperate with the government. In exchange, he received a lighter sentence. He pled guilty. With his testimony, ultimately Haynes was tried and got the maximum life without parole plus a 45 years. On October 11th of 2000, Dustin John Higgs was found guilty on all counts 3 counts of first degree murder and kidnapping in the slaying of Tanji Jackson, Tamika Black and Mishawn Chin. When the judge handed down his sentencing in January 2001. Higgs received the first federal death sentence in Maryland's history, the judge calling Higgs a cold blooded killer who deserved to die for ordering the murder of these three Washington women. When I asked Ted Jones what this case meant to him, from the undercover operation to their critical confession he obtained, how's a bit surprised to learn this interesting fact? Jones has never to this day had an opportunity to meet the families of the three innocent victims. Now I'm sure if he did, he would find a tremendous amount of appreciation for his role in solving these brutal murders. But yet it's clearly a case in the women that he worked so hard for that meant so much to him. You know, when I was reading about the sentence, saying it was actually what the judge said in Haynes's sentencing that really struck a chord with me. Because at the end of his sentencing, he cited a poem called the Dead Young soldiers by a man named Archibald Macleish. And at the end of that poem, as the courtroom is sitting there just silent, he left them with we leave you in our deaths, give them meaning. We were young. We have died. Remember us? TuneIn next Wednesday, when we'll dissect another new case on anatomy of murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, A Weinberger media and forseti media production summit. David is executive producer.