A judge will allow a gang member to cover his tattoos during his murder trial next week.
James "Pimpin' " Barron, 24, is charged with killing Bloods street gang member Kamar Allen on Aug. 21, 2011.
Barron's lawyer, Bjorn E. Brunvand, argued that the tattoos could prejudice jurors, who are only supposed to consider the facts in the case. Barron's tattoos include a teardrop under one of his eyes, a large neck tattoo, "727" on one arm and "pimpin" on the other, as well as dollar signs on each of his eyelids.
Circuit Judge William Webb said he would allow it as long as it would not affect Barron's identification by witnesses.
Prosecutor Chris Sprowls argued that some of the witnesses only know Barron as a white male with a teardrop tattoo under his eye, and some only know him as "Pimpin'."
Webb said the court can make a stipulation on the identification of Barron so that witnesses won't need to reveal that he has tattoos.
It's not the first time a Pasco defendant was allowed to cover up tattoos during a murder trial. In 2009, neo-Nazi John Ditullio covered a large swastika on his neck and a crude insult on the other side. The makeup artist cost $125 a day.
The case got national attention, and Ditullio was ultimately convicted. He did not wear his makeup on his sentencing day.
In March, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Cynthia Newton granted a motion to allow Cody Dials, 20, to cover his face tattoos with store-bought concealer. His murder trial is slated for later this year.
According to Pasco sheriff's deputies, Barron suspected Allen of stealing money from his mother. He shot Allen in a field between Anclote Boulevard and Blossom Lake Drive in Holiday, investigators say. Allen was found in a ditch with a .40-caliber bullet in his head.
Barron also is charged in the Dec. 9, 2011, death of Cedric Saunders.
About a week after that killing, Barron was arrested on multiple cocaine-related charges. While in custody, deputies searched his home and found blood-spattered keys that matched the Kia Rio in which Saunders' body was found.
While Barron was in jail, he also was charged with Allen's murder, for which he will face trial first.
He also is charged with solicitation of murder, along with his mother Michelle Lee Miller. Deputies say he asked for a fellow gang member to murder a witness in his case, through a letter he sent to his mom while he was in jail.
Prosecutors plan to use evidence from the letter in this trial.