Jerry L. Haines smiled in the photographs propped next to the steel casket and in the thoughts of his friends and family. Funny guy, always ready with a joke, always walking around with a pocket full of smokes and bumming cigarettes from his buddies, always there when you needed him.
On this Thursday evening at the Barranco & Sons Funeral Home in Severna Park, the 19-year-old's friends and relatives gathered to weep and talk in muted voices. They stared into space and shook their heads because there was no sense to be made of it.
"This ain't right, it's crazy," said Haines' cousin, James Stickler, a thin 17-year-old dressed in black from head to toe and talking so low you could barely hear him over the sound of a heating duct. "He's in a better place than this world, with this kind of violence."
On this Thursday evening, Arthur and Rita Tate sat in their home onBroadneck Road and faced their own anguish: their 16-year-old son, Brian, had been charged with first-degree murder, accused of beating and stabbing Haines to death on a street in Cape St. Claire Monday night. Now, three days later, it was beginning to strike them. They wondered if it could have been prevented. They wished they'd known that their son had been accused of threatening Haines days before the killing.
Tate described the family as "agonizing over the horrible reality of the situation. . . . We are trying to salvage our lives. We don't know where we are heading," he said Friday. "It's the uncertaintyof it all."
He was talking about his son, the boy he coached in football at Broadneck High School, the boy he wanted so much to excel.Brian Tate spent Thursday night alone in a cell at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center in Annapolis. His clothing had been returned to him after the center lifted the suicide watch of Tuesday and Wednesday.
The lives of Brian Tate and Jerry Haines converged in February, drawn together by teen-age romance and jealousy. The police said a 16-year-old sophomore girl at Broadneck High School broke off her relationship with Brian Tate and started dating Haines. Tate had threatened Haines, warned him to stay away from the dark-haired girl, and shouted obscenities at both of them, police said.
When Bill Darcy came to work at Robertson Plumbing & Heating in Annapolis on Tuesday morning and heard the incredible news that Haines had been killed, hethought instantly of the threats that Haines had talked about.
"Isaid, 'Was it that girl's boyfriend?' " said Darcy, who worked side-by-side with Haines for months at Robertson, where Haines was an apprentice plumber. Haines, a former Broadneck High School student, livedon Summit Drive with his mother, Jackie Haines, and two brothers.
"We shared a lot of personal stuff," said Darcy, of Old Mill. "I felt I'd kind of taken him under my wing."
They worked together to install plumbing in a house in Shady Side on Monday. Haines was talkingabout how much he cared for his new girlfriend, how he was going to work and save money and make his life better. That night, he was killed outside his home after dropping the girl off at her house.
"Jerry was full of life," said Darcy, sitting in a folding chair in a side room at the funeral home. "He was very curious, he always wanted tolearn. . . . He'd always help whenever he could. He was just a greatkid."
"He always had something funny to say about things," said Kejoe Barry, a Broadneck High junior and one of Haines' closest friends. "He'd stick up for any little kid who was getting picked on. He stuck up for my brother once at the mall."
Haines stood 5-foot-2 andweighed 105 pounds, but he was cocky and bold, his friends said. Hisbuddy, Gary Quesnel of Bay Hills, laughed when he remembered Haines bragging about his weight-lifting prowess, saying he could bench-press 200 pounds.
"I said 'Yeah, right,' " Quesnel said. But Quesnel said there was no doubting Haines when it came to approaching girls.
"He was more or less what you call a lady's man," said Quesnel. "Hewould see a girl walking in the mall, he'd start talking to her."
"He loved to bum cigarettes off us," said Bonnie Wheeler of Arnold, who graduated from Broadneck last year. "Even when he had a full pack."
Some teen-agers paint a different picture of Brian Tate, who transferred in January from Broadneck High School to Mount St. Joseph'sHigh School, a private Catholic school in Baltimore County. They talk about a boy who often seemed angry, especially on the football field.
"I've known him since fourth grade," said Quesnel, describing Tate as "real short-tempered."
"He always had a bad attitude," saidBarry, who played football with Tate as a Broadneck sophomore. "Always negative. If things didn't go his way, he'd have something to say about it."
But Bobby Weatherly, who played football with Tate for two years at Broadneck, said he didn't see that side of him. In a telephone interview, he described Tate as "basically a pretty nice guy."On the field, he said, Tate could "get pretty mad at times, but I never considered him to be a hothead."
Several of the youngsters said they remembered that Tate's father, Broadneck's assistant football coach, pressed his son hard on the field.
"His dad would come downhard on him if he did something wrong," said Weatherly. "I guess he just wanted him to succeed so much."
The police said that Tate, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 175 pounds, waited for Haines outside his home on Summit Drive Monday night. They said he allegedly beat Haines and stabbed him 23 times with a kitchen knife, then dragged the body to the backyard of a home about 50 feet away. When police found the body, it was covered with leaves.
Red carnations, white daisiesand red roses adorned the closed casket on Thursday night. Jackie Haines sat nearby, accepting condolences from family and friends. For now, she could feel no sympathy for the Tate family.
"I'm the one without a son and now I have to bury him," she said Wednesday. "I had to go pick out flowers for his casket. Even if he (Brian Tate) got a lifetime in prison, it would not be enough."
"My heart goes out tothat women and her family," Arthur Tate said. "But what happened could never change. . . . How do you make your lives normal again?"