With the alleged ringleader behind a teen’s gruesome murder facing the death penalty, the only other person still facing charges in the case took the stand Wednesday to testify against him.
Michael Bargo is on trial, accused of planning the killing and dismembering of 15-year-old Seath Jackson back in 2011.
James Havens was a father figure to Amber Wright, Michael Bargo’s girlfriend. Wright is serving a life sentence and defense attorneys tried to cast doubt on his testimony, saying he’d say anything to avoid the same fate.
Even though he was no longer dating Amber Wright’s mom, 39-year-old James Havens said he was invited to hang out with Wright and four of her friends in April 2011. State attorneys said the conversation soon turned to luring the 15-year-old girl’s ex-boyfriend, Seath Jackson, to the house to kill him.
“I didn’t want to be around when they were joking around about this, so I left,” Havens said.
Havens said he got a call from Bargo in the middle of the night.
"He said the deed is done," Havens said.
"What did you do after he told you, the deed is done?" State Attorney Amy Berndt asked.
"I hung up and went back to sleep,” Havens said.
Defense attorneys questioned him further.
"You say the deed was done. What did you think it was?" defense attorney Charles Holloman asked.
"I have no idea, sir. I was half asleep," Havens explained.
But the next morning, Havens said he returned to the home where Bargo and another young man loaded paint buckets and cinder blocks into his truck.
“You had no idea what was in those buckets?" Holloman again asked incredulously.
"No sir," Havens said.
"You weren’t the least bit curious why you’d be picking up buckets and something to tie them with?” Holloman said.
Another of Bargo’s girlfriends, Kristen Williams, testified Bargo told her exactly what the group did to Jackson while Havens waited in the truck.
“They ended up shooting him, then taking him apart, burning him and taking him to the rock quarry,” Williams said.
Havens is charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder, but was ruled incompetent to stand trial in September 2012.
“The fact of the matter is you are facing these charges and you are desperate and would say anything to push yourself into after the fact, no sir, no further questions,” Holloman said.
Along with testimony from detectives, jurors also heard from a friend of the victim who said Bargo had been threatening Jackson for weeks, and from a girl who said Bargo pointed a gun at her while she was pregnant about a week before the 2011 murder.
Four others in the case have been convicted. Charlie Kay Ely, 19, was sentenced to life in prison. Justin Soto, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Siblings Amber Wright, 16, and Kyle Hooper, 17, were both found guilty of first-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison without parole.