Gazebo Gazette

 Joseph Alonzo Haynes of Pass Christian, was found guilty last week for the May 9, 2021, killing of Jermaine “Red” Watts from Gulfport. Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt presided over the three-day trial. The jury deliberated approximately an hour before returning their verdict. 

Testimony at trial revealed that on May 9, 2021, a 911 call was received after 3:30 a.m. regarding a shooting at the Third Base Lounge in Bay St. Louis. First responders, including officers with the Bay St. Louis Police Department, arrived on scene within minutes where they found the victim unresponsive on  the side of Highway 90.

Eyewitnesses testified that the victim had been involved in an argument with other patrons regarding a vehicle. During the argument, witnesses testified that the Defendant walked up to Jermaine Watts and fired multiple gunshots into his body.

The testimony revealed that the victim was unarmed at the time of the shooting. During cross examination, the Defendant admitted to shooting Jermaine Watts with his 9mm handgun during the argument, but alleged he only fired in self-defense, said Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Chris Daniel, who tried the case with fellow ADA Jeremy Necaise.  

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Staci Turner testified that the victim had four separate gunshot wounds, including a fatal wound that was a gunshot wound to his back, stated ADA Daniel. Lead Det. Dustin Weir testified and explained video evidence from the parking lot near the lounge that showed dozens of patrons who were present at the time of the shooting, but only a few remained on scene to provide assistance after the shooting occurred.  

After receiving the jury’s verdict, Judge Schmidt asked counsel to confer on dates to schedule a sentencing hearing for Joseph Haynes, who was immediately remanded into custody of the Hancock County Sheriff. Haynes has no prior criminal history and faces up to 20 years in the Mississippi Department of  Correction for his Manslaughter conviction. 

District Attorney W. Crosby Parker expressed, “We are proud of the hard work that was done by law  enforcement to ensure justice for the victim and his family. This was a difficult case that involved several complex challenges, but it was clear that Jermaine Watts should not have died that night in Bay St. Louis, and we are pleased that the jury agreed with this conclusion.”