A friend of a woman who was killed in 2015 along with her 7-year-old son in Southwest Baltimore pleaded guilty to federal charges that she helped set up a drug robbery that led to the murders, according to a plea agreement outlined Tuesday.
Kiara Haynes, 36, admitted that she helped plot a robbery of Jennifer Jeffrey in May 2015, including acquiring a gun used in the crime and taking a cut of stolen heroin afterward. The killings took place just two months after attending Jeffrey’s bachelorette party, according to the plea, which provided new details about the murders.
Haynes was charged in June and became a co-defendant of Andre Briscoe, who federal prosecutors say carried out the killing of Jeffrey and also fatally shot her son, Kester “Tony” Browne, at their home in the Uplands neighborhood.
Briscoe is a cousin of Haynes, and prosecutors say they had met for the first time just three months before the murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
The case went unsolved for years, until federal prosecutors brought charges against Briscoe in September 2020. Haynes was charged in a superseding indictment this year with use of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime causing the death of a person, and she was arrested in Texas.
Her attorney, Gerald Ruter, said his client felt “a tremendous amount of remorse” but he declined to comment further.
Haynes’ plea agreement includes four pages of new allegations about the killings. She faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and the possibility of life in prison.
According to the plea, Haynes had known Jeffrey since they were teenagers, and when Jeffrey married her child’s father in March 2015, Haynes took part in the bachelorette party in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore.
Jeffrey and an unnamed conspirator began supplying heroin to a second unnamed co-conspirator she met at the bachelorette party, the plea says. Jeffrey and Haynes traveled together from Baltimore to Cambridge “several times a week” so Jeffrey could provide the second person with heroin, the plea says.
But Haynes and Jeffrey had a falling out in early May 2015, in part, because Jeffrey was pressuring Haynes to pay $20 that she owed for Percocet, according to court records.
“At the time, Haynes had little money and had seen Jeffrey making large sums of cash from Jeffrey’s drug trafficking activities,” the plea says.
On May 12, one of the drug partners was arrested, and in an effort to raise bail money, Jeffrey asked Briscoe and the other co-conspirator to help sell heroin that she was holding.
Briscoe saw an opportunity, prosecutors say. Two weeks later, Briscoe told Haynes that he was planning to rob and kill Jeffrey, according to the plea.
“Briscoe confirmed to Haynes his intention to kill not only Jeffrey but also the minor victim if the minor victim were present at the time of the robbery,” the plea says. “Haynes offered to help Briscoe obtain a gun.”
Prosecutors say Haynes called an incarcerated relative on a recorded jail line and said she needed a gun to rob someone she knew with a large stash of heroin to sell. Haynes said she was “just gonna take it” and promised to give the relative 30 grams of the stolen heroin.
The inmate said he’d have someone on standby “so when you’re done you can give” him his share and return the weapon.
The night before the murders, Briscoe hung out at Jeffrey’s home, and stayed overnight. He knew her son would be home, prosecutors say — the boy was not feeling well and had not gone to school that morning. Briscoe then went Haynes’ apartment, picked up the .45 caliber gun, and went back to Jeffrey’s home.
“Briscoe returned to Haynes’ apartment after the murders with the gun and a bag of heroin,” the plea says. “When Haynes asked Briscoe what had happened, Briscoe told Haynes that Jeffrey and her son were lying dead on the kitchen floor.”
The bodies were not found until the next day.
By that time, according to the plea, Briscoe had returned the gun, weighed the heroin and determined it to be worth $8,000, and given Haynes a portion of heroin to give her relative who provided the weapon. Haynes also got her own cut of the drugs, which the plea says she sold for “pocket money.”
The plea says Haynes first met with Baltimore Police detectives in May 2015 and later with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in February 2020 and with representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other federal law enforcement agencies in July 2020. She testified before a grand jury on July 22, 2020.
Her plea says she was “not fully truthful” in her accounts provided during those meetings.
Jeffrey’s family previously has disputed that she was involved with drug trafficking. Her brother said she knew people involved with drugs and was “enamored with the fast life,” but he disputed that she personally dealt drugs. Jeffrey had received a nursing certification just months before her death and was applying to work in the health care industry, her brother said.
He also pointed to her positive impact on her son, who was a standout student and was learning to speak Chinese.
Briscoe allegedly killed the boy to keep him from identifying him as the shooter.
Briscoe’s attorney told The Sun last year that his client disputes his involvement in the killing, saying he was on the Eastern Shore at the time police believe the shootings took place. He is scheduled for a three-week jury trial in May.
The case was eligible for the federal death penalty, but the Office of the U.S. Attorney General notified the defendants in September that it would not seek the death penalty.
A previous version of this article misstated Haynes’ age. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she is 36. The Sun regrets the error.