Man arrested to compel his testimony in Davis County murder trial
FARMINGTON — A 21-year-old man has been arrested and jailed without bail to ensure his appearance in court to testify in the murder trial of Michael Jameel Hines, who is accused of fatally shooting a Layton teenager in a drug robbery.
Police arrested Angelo Washington Jr., 21, in West Valley City on Tuesday, acting on an arrest warrant signed in October by 2nd District Judge David J. Williams. Benjamin Willoughby, a deputy Davis County attorney, had requested the warrant.
Willoughby said in a motion seeking a warrant that Washington gave a statement to Layton police after the March 20, 2020, death of Kannon Beesley, but he has since rebuffed requests to talk to prosecutors.
According to Washington’s statement to police, he stayed in a car while Hines and another man went inside the home where Beesley, 18, lived with his mother. Washington said that after the two men came back out and the three left in the car, he asked what was happening. He said Hines responded, “I shot him,” and when he asked who was shot, Hines said Beesley’s name.
Washington and the third man then dropped off Hines in North Salt Lake, where he was arrested later by SWAT officers. Washington and the third man were not charged in the case.
Willoughby said the prosecutor’s office has tried to serve Washington with a subpoena, but they don’t have his address or phone number. Willoughby said he left numerous messages for him via his parents. According to Willoughby, Washington’s mother said her son “is adamant that he will not cooperate and will not testify” against Hines. The prosecutor said Hines and Washington are cousins.
Hines, 30, was scheduled to go on trial next week, but the proceeding was postponed until March 28 in a recent hearing. He is charged with first-degree felony murder, second-degree felony obstructing justice and third-degree felony use of a firearm by a restricted person.
Willoughby said Wednesday that Washington has “no real fixed address” and has ties to people in Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois. But on Tuesday, he was visiting a girlfriend in West Valley City and police arrested him.
“He just decided on his own he was not going to cooperate or testify, and obviously the law does not allow that,” Willoughby said. “People are required to respond to a subpoena and take an oath and tell the truth.”
The prosecutor said Washington will get a hearing before a judge within three business days, per Utah criminal procedure, to determine whether he will remain jailed until trial or be granted bail.
Willoughby said he hopes there will be a meeting with Washington, Hines and Hines’s attorney in which the prosecutor will interview Washington as a trial witness and Hines’ attorney can cross-examine him. After that, the judge might grant Washington bail and tell him to come back for the trial. If he does not show up, the recorded interview could be used in the trial.
“It respects Hines’ Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses,” Willoughby said.
The prosecutor said a witness refusing to testify is unusual. “The vast majority of people are good enough citizens” to willingly testify, he said.