Giving the Boot
Charles F. Long II, the controversial director of a boot camp for wayward youngsters who's facing murder charges, has lost his private defense attorney apparently because he can't pay the $50,000 fee.
Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Ron Reinstein allowed prominent defense attorney Ulises Ferragut to drop out of the nationally publicized case after learning Long had only paid Ferragut about $4,000 of a promised $50,000 to represent him.
Reinstein noted quizzically during a March 18 hearing that Ferragut (and prosecutor Mark Berry) had conducted just one interview in the 13 months since a grand jury indicted the 57-year-old Long on charges of second-degree murder, child abuse and aggravated assault.
Long was arrested in February 2002 in the death of 14-year-old Tony Haynes. The boy died July 1, 2001, after boot-camp officials forced him to stand in the blazing sun (it was 111 degrees that day) for several hours. During that stretch, Haynes allegedly began to hallucinate and ate large amounts of dirt before collapsing. Police reports say camp counselors took the boy to a nearby motel, then left him slumped and unattended in a bathtub for up to 10 minutes with water from the shower head running over him. By the time Long's wife called 911 later that night, the unconscious Haynes no longer was breathing.
The Maricopa County medical examiner ruled that the Phoenix teen's death was accidental, and had been caused by "complications of near drowning and dehydration due to heat exposure."
Haynes whose mother had sent him to the camp after he was busted for shoplifting was in his third day of a scheduled five-week stint in the desert southwest of Buckeye. The camp was operated by the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association (ABSRA), which Long founded in the early 1990s.
Long was one of five men indicted in Haynes' death. He faces the most serious charges and is likely to spend most of the rest of his life in prison if convicted. Camp counselor Troy Hutty pleaded guilty last year to negligent homicide in return for providing testimony against his ex-employer, Long. Hutty faces up to a year in prison as part of his plea bargain, and will be sentenced sometime after he testifies at Long's trial.
Long hired Ferragut shortly after the grand jury indictment against him, but apparently was unable to pay the attorney what he had promised. The post-indictment investigation subsequently languished, and Ferragut asked Reinstein in a March 4 hearing to declare his client indigent.
"Although he is seated here today and obviously looks like he may not be indigent, quite frankly, he is," Ferragut told the judge at that hearing. "He has no financial resources at this time.... He has no equity in [his] home whatsoever. He has no other real property or personal property of any value to assist in providing for his defense, either for costs and expenses of retaining experts in this case or for an investigator, and certainly not for continued retention of my services."
Reinstein asked Ferragut why he had interviewed only one witness (of about 200 that are listed as potentially testifying) in the 13 months since he'd been retained.
"The reality of the situation is that both the state and the defense have just been so busy... ," Ferragut replied.
The judge later appointed an attorney from the county's Office of the Legal Advocate (an offshoot of the Public Defender's Office) to represent Long.
Ferragut tells New Times, "I tried to hold on as long as I could because I feel for my client and think he's got a good case. Quite frankly, I've done a lot of pro bono [free] work in the case. I don't think that Chuck intentionally tried to violate our fee agreement. It's just been very difficult for him to make a living."
Long was not available for comment. He has pleaded innocent to all charges, and has said in previous interviews that he doesn't feel responsible for the young man's demise. A public relations blurb on the ABSRA Web site refers to Anthony Haynes' "suicidal death," while chastising former governor Jane Hull for comments she made after the boy died.
"Governor Hull didn't think America's Buffalo Soldiers was preying on desperate parents' when she asked ABSRA to provide Color Guard [and] Honor Guard for now-President George W. Bush," the blurb said in part, "and [to] campaign for her when she was running for the Governor's Office."
Accompanying that text was a group photograph of Bush, Hull, Long (who prefers being called "Colonel" despite the fact that he never reached that rank in the military) and two of his aides.
Public records and Long's own résumé reveal a pattern of deception, financial irresponsibility and violence ("Soldier of Misfortune," John Dougherty, January 25, 1996), including a 1992 misdemeanor conviction on a charge of "inflicting injury" to an ex-girlfriend who had borne one of his children.
As for his earlier financial woes, Long has left a trail of angry investors who claim that he owed them thousands of dollars. Long's résumé says he earned a political science degree from Ohio's Wilberforce University. However, records indicate that he attended school there for only two semesters.
Michael Wade, a Phoenix attorney who represented Haynes' mother, Michelle Haynes, in a lawsuit against Long and others, tells New Times that the case was settled out of court months ago. The amount of the settlement is confidential, Wade says.
Haynes, a Phoenix woman who works as an accounts-payable employee for a local company, says she's frustrated by the delays in the Long prosecution, but remains hopeful that justice will be done.
"I just don't want Tony to have died in vain," says Haynes, who is the mother of two younger children. "I know that the wheels turn really slow in the criminal-justice system, and I just have to deal with it. I know that Tony had his problems in life, but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him and wish he were here."
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.