3 guilty of aiding death of witness Drug lord ordered killing of man who testified against him; All face life sentences

Three men described as enforcers in the notorious Anthony Jones drug organization were convicted yesterday of participating in the murder of a federal witness who had testified before a grand jury about the gang's activities.

Jones, convicted this year of running one of the most murderous narcotics rings in city history, ordered the "hit" in February 1997 from a prison telephone. He used a secret coded language to inform a trusted gang member on how to do the killing, according to evidence at the trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.


Prosecutors said the hit men who received the orders were Timothy "Denasty" Simms, 19, and Hilton "Dinkles" Thomas, 18, who were paid $3,000 each to kill the witness, John Jones. On Feb. 26, 1997, John Jones -- who is Anthony Jones' adopted brother -- was shot to death at his East Baltimore home.

"Anthony Jones felt that if he ordered the killing of his own brother, it would send a message that he would go to any length to silence cooperators," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert R. Harding.


John Jones was subpoenaed and testified before a federal grand jury about seven weeks before his death, informing the panel about his knowledge of a recent drug seizure and a gun he once saw Anthony Jones carrying.

The drug lord, at the time jailed in a federal prison in Allenwood, Pa., awaiting trial, became furious when he heard the news and called one of the gang's most feared lieutenants, Jerry "Black Jerry" Williams, according to trial testimony.

Because he knew the phone call would likely be monitored by federal agents, Anthony Jones spoke to Williams in a code he devised called "fergy-dergy," a mix of pig Latin and street slang, prosecutors said.

He gave the order "That nergy jergy gotta get wergy tergy," which translated to an execution order against John Jones, prosecutors said.

Williams, 22, was convicted yesterday of murder in aid of racketeering and was immediately sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. He had been convicted last year of drug conspiracy for his part in the Jones organization, for which he received life without parole.

Thomas was convicted of murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to retaliate against a federal witness, and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Simms was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Thomas and Simms face mandatory life without parole sentences at a hearing Feb. 19, because their narcotics crimes resulted in at least one death, Harding said.

"The message should be clear that the federal government will use all of its resources and all of its powers to see to it that an attack on a federal witness will be vindicated," Harding said.


The Anthony Jones organization was a $30,000-a-day heroin and cocaine ring linked to more than a dozen killings. Roughly 20 of its members have been sentenced to lengthy no-parole federal prison terms since the gang was broken up in 1996.

Pub Date: 12/15/98