Santa Anta Ana, California -- A former member of the notorious Aryan Brotherhood prison gang testified that a gang kingpin admitted ordering the killings of three other inmates and doing another hit himself.
Kevin Roach took the stand Thursday with a shaved head and arms covered with tattoos in one of the largest capital punishment cases in U.S. history.
Roach, a convicted murderer who left the gang and became a government witness in 1998, testified about several of the 32 murders and attempted murders detailed in a sweeping indictment targeting the violent gang founded in 1964 at California's San Quentin prison.
He said Barry ''The Baron'' Mills told him he was mad that he had gotten caught for the 1979 murder of an inmate named John Marzloff over a drug dispute. Mills is serving two life terms for the killing.
Roach also recalled a discussion in which Mills said he had ordered the killing of Jimmy ''Doc'' Inman for teaching Mexican Mafia members how to make weapons. Roach said Mills had dug up a secret note planted in the recreation yard indicating Inman was to be targeted and read it before ordering the killing.
''We read it together ... He told me that Inman was 'in the hat' and was going to be hit,'' Roach said.
The attack in 1993 was not successful, prosecutors have said.
Prosecutors hope to dismantle the Aryan Brotherhood -- nicknamed the ''Brand'' -- in a series of racketeering trials. Of the 40 men initially charged, as many as 16 could face the death penalty for crimes going back 30 years.
The first group of four defendants -- Mills, Tyler ''The Hulk'' Bingham, Edgar ''The Snail'' Hevle and Christopher Gibson -- are on trial in Santa Ana. All have pleaded not guilty.
Nineteen defendants struck plea bargains, and one has died. The remaining defendants are scheduled to be tried in Los Angeles beginning in October.
Mills also ordered the killing of Thomas Lamb, an inmate who had been released from state prison and fallen in love with a woman he was supposed to kill, Roach said. When Lamb was later re-arrested and sent to federal prison, Mills ordered his murder, Roach said.
He also said Mills told him he had ordered inmate John Greshner to kill Richard ''Rhino'' Andreson in 1983. Andreson was on the gang's hit list because he told authorities about a bank robbery, Roach said.
Earlier in the week, retired prison warden Patrick Keohone testified that he witnessed Andreson's fatal stabbing at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan. He said he saw two inmates -- Greshner and Ronnie Joe Criswell -- repeatedly attack Andreson with 12-inch knives.
Greshner was ''licking the blood off his hands and laughing about it'' after being subdued, Keohone said.
Mills could face the death penalty in the 1997 deaths of two inmates in a Lewisburg, Pa., prison.
Attorney H. Dean Steward, who represents Mills, said the defense team will argue that Roach and other informants were coached and promised favorable plea deals for their testimony.