Two get three life terms, no parole in execution-style killing of friends

Trio was shot last year in Southeast Baltimore

March 14, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Comparing the two defendants before him to "Nazi prison guards," Baltimore Circuit Judge John N. Prevas sentenced William Faulkner and Richard James yesterday to three consecutive life sentences without parole for the execution-style murder of three lifelong best friends last year.

"When I look into the vacant eyes of William Faulkner and Richard James, I see the vacant eyes of Nazi prison guards who went home at night and kissed their children," Prevas said.

Faulkner and James, both 23, were found guilty last month of 30 criminal charges in connection with the July murders of Thomas Barnes Jr., Frederick Jenkins and ElJermaine Street.

In addition to the three life sentences, the defendants were also handed another 20 years to be served at the same time. The charges ranged from first-degree murder to handgun violations.

The victims, all 28, had jobs and loving families. Jenkins was a military computer specialist in Kuwait, Barnes was a Social Security Administration clerk and Street, a forklift operator, was engaged to be married.

The three were sitting on the steps of a Southeast Baltimore home when they were each shot once in the head.

Prosecutor Lisa H. Goldberg said they were "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The intended victim was Derek Jenkins, 24, a younger brother of Frederick Jenkins, according to testimony during the trial last month. The younger Jenkins was with the victims when they were shot, but he fled and escaped unharmed.

Before Prevas handed down the sentences yesterday, family members of the two defendants pleaded for a light sentence, saying they are not murderers.

"That's my only boy, and he's always been a good guy," William Faulkner Sr. said about his son. "I hate to see him go away for something he didn't do."

Then, members of the three victims' families asked Prevas to hand the defendants life in prison.

Felicia Waterhouse told the packed courtroom that her son, Frederick Jenkins, was killed when he was home for three days from a tour of duty in Kuwait, where he was a computer specialist in Operation Enduring Freedom.

The reason he came home, she said, was to celebrate the one-year anniversary of her surviving surgery for ovarian cancer.

"My hurt runs very deep," Waterhouse said. "It's the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of at night."

She said Jenkins' 6-year-old son thinks his father is still in Germany, where he had once been stationed.

"He says, `I haven't been bad. Why won't Daddy come home?'" Waterhouse told the court. "He doesn't understand his father will never come home."

Prosecutor Goldberg said Faulkner and James were trying to settle a score on the night of the killings.

Bad feelings had been sparked that day between Derek Jenkins and the defendants at a bar, Goldberg said.

Faulkner and one of Derek Jenkins' friends exchanged dirty looks, although no words were exchanged, she said.

Hours later, the victims and Derek Jenkins were sitting on the steps of an apartment complex in the 1300 block of Bonsal St., near O'Donnell Heights.

The three friends had been chatting and catching up, Goldberg said.

Just before midnight, two men approached, wearing hooded sweat shirts pulled over their heads. Without saying a word, one fired three shots from a revolver, Goldberg said.

Judge Prevas said yesterday that rehabilitating the defendants "is not a consideration."

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