A verdict of “guilty” was read to an unusually packed house of at least 30 people Friday in the 161st District Court in the Billy Wayne Haynes murder trial.
The jury found Haynes guilty on a count of murder and a count of engaging in organized criminal activity after almost four hours of deliberation by the jury.
He was convicted in connection with the Oct. 9, 2008, shooting of Rey Valdez, after a former lover’s argument led to a fistfight and later a retaliation effort by members of the Aryan Circle.
That retaliation turned quickly into a gunfight.
The verdict was read just after 3 p.m., prompting Judge John Smith to postpone the sentencing phase of the trial because he didn’t want to keep the jury for what he said would be a long sentencing phase that could last until midnight or later.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Monday.
Defense attorney Jason Leach said in his closing arguments that the jury should consider how little evidence law enforcement gave that Haynes was the shooter.
He said most of the evidence placing blame came from those who were either receiving deals from the District Attorney’s Office or who were already in jail.
“We have witnesses that need only one thing: their freedom,” he said. “Make no mistake, these folks were singing for their supper.”
Assistant District Attorney Brooke Hendricks said the accomplices in the shooting lied initially to law enforcement and have since admitted it, but Horace Chunn didn’t even know he would be testifying and had nothing to gain from testifying one way or another.
Chunn is one of the few people who went with the Aryan Circle members who was not part of the gang. He was never charged.
“What is the one thing that has stayed constant in all their testimony?” Hendricks said. “That Billy Wayne Haynes is the killer.”
The testimony varied from person to person, but some basics about the night remained the same:
The group of seven Aryan Circle members, plus Horace Chunn and Hannah Fierros, drove to Dwain Barina’s house after midnight to get revenge.
Barina, Tracey Roupp and Rey Valdez previously engaged in a fistfight with George Scott and Hannah Fierros.
When they arrived at the Barina house, several people got out of the vehicles.
Barina, Roupp and Valdez were outside and fired two shots, although it is somewhat disputed whether the shots were fired in the air or at the people entering the fence line around the property.
Haynes and several others then hid across the street, at which point several more shots were fired and Valdez was struck with a bullet that pierced his arm and went through his left torso all the way to the other side of his body, cutting through several organs.
The gang left the property while the Barinas called 9-1-1. Valdez was pronounced dead later that morning.
The gun was disassembled and picked up out of a dumpster the next morning, where an Aryan Circle member attempted to burn it, then had it dumped in a pond in Midland.