LOS ANGELES — An associate of former Rams cornerback and convicted cocaine trafficker Darryl Henley pleaded guilty Monday to trying to set up a $1-million heroin deal so that the athlete could finance a murder-for-hire scheme from his jail cell.
Jimmy Washington, 49, faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison after changing his plea to guilty on one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He will be sentenced Jan. 27.
Washington admitted in court that he was acting on Henley's behalf when he went to Detroit to find buyers for more than 11 pounds of heroin. At that time, Henley, 30, was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles after being convicted of running a cross-country cocaine ring.
But from his jail cell the athlete was using a cellular phone provided by a prison guard to arrange both the drug deal and two aborted contract killings.
Henley, 30, planned to use $200,000 from the heroin deal to pay a hit man to kill U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor, who presided over his drug trafficking trial last year. He also planned the murder of his former girlfriend and ex-Rams cheerleader, Tracy Donaho, who testified against Henley.
Henley, a former UCLA star, pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murder-for-hire scheme. He faces up to 41 years in prison on the drug and solicitation cases, with sentencing set for Jan 13.
Henley's 27-year-old brother, Eric, has also pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess narcotics with intent to distribute.
The brothers were among several men arrested in a sting operation by federal agents who posed as heroin suppliers.
The brothers' guilty pleas probably prompted Washington to confess his crimes.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Marc Harris described Washington's change of plea as "an excellent result for the government. We have no agreement with respect to the sentence he will receive. He is simply acknowledging his guilt."
The lone defendant remaining in the case is 29-year-old jail guard Rodney Anderson.
Anderson is accused of smuggling a cellular phone into Henley's jail cell in exchange for a $3,000 monthly payoff. His trial is set for Nov. 5.