Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Inmate's mother arrested after mailing request for witness' killing, deputies say

HOLIDAY — Three months before his cases were set for trial, detectives say, James Barron needed to clean house. He'd seen the evidence against him in two murder charges, including names of the witnesses who would testify against him. Reports say he penned a letter from his jail cell to destroy the evidence. In this case, a person.

Barron sent the letter to his mother, Michelle Lee Miller, but not before it was intercepted by detectives. An expert at the Sheriff's Office sifted through the gang slang to interpret a request. The witness had worn a wire to record talks with Barron to build the state's case against him. Barron, reports state, wanted the witness "peter-rolled." Murdered. It indicated, too, that there would be a reward.

"Every piece of evidence in a homicide is important," said Detective Bill Lindsey of the Pasco Sheriff's Office. "Every witness is equally important. So the fact that somebody would reach out and try to harm him, it would absolutely be harmful to the case."

Detectives passed the letter on, intentionally.

At 1037 Solar Drive, reports state, Miller read the letter and searched to find the prison where the intended recipient was serving a sentence. Inmates aren't allowed to write to other inmates, even at other jails or prisons. Detectives say she was the middleman.

She repackaged the letter and sent it to Sumter Correctional Institution. Lindsey did not give the name of "the person who they were requesting to commit the murder," but did indicate that the person holds clout with members of the Bloods gang.

The Sumter prisoner wrote back to Barron, again through his mother, detectives said. According to Lindsey, the letter indicated that the Bloods would kill the witness "as soon as possible."

By the time the letter reached Miller's home, detectives had a search warrant. Lindsey said investigators took the response letter. The fact that Miller had sent the letter as she was instructed indicated she read it, Lindsey said. She was arrested on a charge of solicitation to commit murder. She remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday on $300,000 bail.

On Wednesday night, deputies also arrested Daniel David Feliciano, 32, on charges of tampering with another witness while they were both in the Land O'Lakes jail. According to reports, he told the witness that gang members had a list of addresses for the witness' family members. If the witness testified against Barron, Feliciano reportedly told the witness, they would be killed.

The witness wrote a letter to the State Attorney's Office, requesting to be removed from the case. Detectives intercepted that letter, interviewed the witness and arrested Feliciano, who is also a Bloods gang member, the report states.

The witness is now in protective custody.

"Two cases, two separate witnesses, their lives were threatened because of their testimony," Lindsey said. "He's trying to stop these people from testifying against him, which would, of course, damage the homicide trial."

A slew of charges has kept Barron in and out of jail over the past three years.

He was arrested in 2012 after, detectives said, he confessed to killing Cedric Saunders on Dec. 9, 2011, and then covered up evidence.

About a week after the killing, Barron was arrested on multiple cocaine-related charges. While in custody, deputies secured a search warrant for Barron's home and found blood-spattered keys that matched the Kia Rio in which Saunders' body was found.

While he was in jail, deputies charged him with a second murder.

On Aug. 21, Barron had suspected Kamar Allen of stealing money from his mother and confronted him. The two later left the house on foot. Barron told Allen they were "going to go find some women," the other inmate said in the report.

In an open field between Anclote Boulevard and Blossom Lake Drive in Holiday, investigators say, Barron shot Allen and went home. Allen's body was found in a nearby ditch, four blocks from Barron's home, with a .40-caliber bullet in his head.

Both cases are set for trial in January. Barron could face life in prison and the death penalty.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Alex Orlando at or (727) 869-6247.

Inmate's mother arrested after mailing request for witness' killing, deputies say 10/24/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  2. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill


    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.
  3. Senator: American student arrested in China has been freed


    BILLINGS, Mont. — Chinese authorities have dropped charges against an American college student who was arrested and detained in the a week ago after reportedly injuring a taxi driver who was roughing up his mother in a fare dispute, a U.S. lawmaker said Sunday.

    Guthrie McLean was detained for reportedly injuring a taxi driver after the driver physically attacked McLean’s mother.
  4. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post


    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  5. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike


    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]