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Temple Hills Man, 22, Convicted for Role in Killing

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 9, 2005; Page B02

After what its foreman described as heated deliberations, a federal jury in Prince George's County convicted a Temple Hills man yesterday of conspiracy to kidnap a teenager who was abducted from a Southeast Washington street at gunpoint, driven to an Oxon Hill neighborhood and shot to death.

Lorenzo A. Wilson, 22, could be sentenced to life in prison. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte scheduled sentencing for June 8.

The jury of nine women and three men found Wilson not guilty of kidnapping and firearms offenses. Because they acquitted Wilson of kidnapping, jurors did not consider another charge Wilson faced -- kidnapping that leads to death, an offense that carries a mandatory life sentence.

Wilson was convicted in connection with the Jan. 3, 2002, kidnapping and slaying of Eric L. Hayes II, 19.

Hayes, the son of a D.C. police lieutenant, was abducted at gunpoint from the 3200 block of Eighth Street SE shortly after 8 p.m. About 45 minutes later, he was shot in the head three times in the 2800 block of Hillcrest Parkway in Oxon Hill. Wilson had also suffered a blunt force injury to the head, prosecutors said.

As Hayes was forced at gunpoint into a dark blue Lincoln Continental, another attacker tried to grab Hayes's friend, who escaped.

The killers stripped Hayes of an Eddie Bauer coat, his expensive Nike high-top sneakers and a pager, according to evidence presented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah A. Johnston and Sandra Wilkinson.

Johnston and Wilkinson did not argue that Wilson shot Hayes or brandished a weapon but rather that he was one of at least three men who committed the kidnapping and murder. Two co-defendants, James E. Flood III , 27, and Kenneth J. Lighty, 22, are scheduled to go on trial in federal court in September.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Lighty, who is accused of pulling the trigger.

The jury's deliberations were often heated, said foreman Hayes Barnes, 53, a shift supervisor with the U.S. Postal Service Police who lives in College Park.

"Tempers flared, and we're all not friends now," Barnes said.

Barnes said some jurors did not believe the government provided sufficient evidence that Wilson took part in the kidnapping or was at the scene of the slaying.

Jurors were persuaded to convict Wilson of conspiracy in part because of cell phone records that showed a series of calls from Flood's cell phone to a sometime girlfriend of Wilson's shortly after the killing, Barnes said.

Prosecutors said Wilson called the woman, Krystal Phauls, to have her help them by driving them from the scene. Phauls testified for the government that she saw Wilson with Hayes's pager.

Defense attorney Christopher M. Davis said in his closing argument that Phauls was not credible because she admitted she lied to a federal grand jury that was investigating the crime. Phauls initially testified to the grand jury that she knew nothing about the crime.

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