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Murder defendant denies shooting teen drug dealer, blames another man

By Mark Shenefelt - | Apr 28, 2022

Photo supplied, Davis County Jail

Michael Hines

FARMINGTON — Contradicting testimony by others, murder suspect Michael Jameel Hines said on Thursday that Jeremiah Wright shot and killed their drug dealer during a scuffle over a large bag of marijuana.

Hines, 31, is on trial on a charge or first-degree murder in the March 12, 2020, death of Kannon Beesley, 18, at the teenager’s home in Layton.

Hines testified that as Beesley was showing him and Wright his latest marijuana stocks, Hines grabbed a 1-pound bag that Beesley was holding. As they tussled over it, he said, Wright got between them and the bag broke open and the marijuana spilled.

“That’s when the gunshot went off,” Hines said. “I took off running up the stairs.” He said he heard a second shot as he was running.

Hines said that as he and Wright entered Beesley’s bedroom, Wright was quiet. He said he began sensing that Wright intended to rob Beesley. “I didn’t like it at all because he was the only person we buy weed from,” Hines said.

Earlier in the trial, Wright testified that Hines hit him on the back and he fell to the floor. He said he looked up at Beesley and Hines struggling. Wright said he heard two shots, Hines ran away and Beesley said, “I’m shot.”

Hines’ cousin, Angelo Washington Jr., was in Wright’s car outside. Washington testified that Hines got back in the car, tossed a handgun into the backseat and said he had shot Beesley.

But Hines testified he got back in the car and asked Washington, “You didn’t hear that gun go off?” Then, Hines said, Wright returned to the car with a gun.

On Thursday morning, prosecutors played videotaped police interviews with Hines on the day after Beesley’s death. Benjamin Willoughby, a Davis County prosecutor, walked a Layton Police Department detective through the interviews, noting that Hines changed his story several times.

Hines first denied he had been in Layton. Eventually he told police of the events that matched his testimony Thursday.

Questioned by defense attorney Jonathan Nish on Thursday afternoon, Hines was asked why he lied. “I don’t trust the police at all and I was scared. I was afraid of being convicted for something I didn’t do.”

Hines said he never told police he shot Beesley and he was hoping that Wright would confess. “But he didn’t,” Hines said.

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