Veteran Texas NA Members Murdered at NA Meeting

The Narcotics Anonymous Killer left a meeting early and came back to the meeting with a gun to kill 2 fellow NA members.NA members and minors are not safe in meetings. Do not take kids to AA / NA meetings!

Man guilty in two deaths
Pleasant Grove: Fellow Narcotics Anonymous members testify
08:30 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 26, 2005
By ROBERT THARP / The Dallas Morning News
For longtime members of a Pleasant Grove Narcotics Anonymous group, a small storefront at a Bruton Road shopping center was like a second home, where the closest of friends leaned on one another to counter addiction’s pull. 
Years of soul-baring among members made it that much harder to cope after a meeting exploded last summer in the shooting deaths of two veteran members. At least a dozen people in the 12-step support group witnessed the shooting deaths of Lois Fields and Darryl Sneed.Several group members made the trip to court Tuesday to recount the terrifying moments leading up to the shootings and identify one of their own as the man responsible.The capital murder trial of 43-year-old Yolland Latimer took less than a full day to wrap up. Jurors deliberated less than 30 minutes before convicting the DeSoto school district teaching assistant and handing down an automatic life sentence.

Melonee Porter described how Ms. Fields – her best friend since the two met at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting about three years ago – cowered with her in a bathroom trying to hide, hoping that police would arrive before Mr. Latimer found her.

Mr. Latimer and Ms. Fields had also met through Narcotics Anonymous. They had dated at times and had a daughter together. More recently, Ms. Fields and Mr. Sneed had become romantically involved, although witnesses said Mr. Latimer remained hopeful that the two would reconcile.

Ms. Fields’ sisters, Lela Fields and Raynell Fields, said their sister had dismissed Mr. Latimer’s earlier jealousy-fueled threats.

“She’d say, ‘I’m his baby’s momma; he’s not going to do anything to me,’ ” Raynell Fields said. “I wish she would have taken it seriously, because I would have.”

Mr. Latimer’s attorney, Stephani Hudgins, told jurors in closing arguments that her client was responding to Ms. Fields’ emotional manipulation and the hollow promise of reconciliation.

“He realized again that she was playing with his heart, playing with his feelings, and he couldn’t take it anymore,” she said.

During the August 2004 meeting, Mr. Latimer apparently became upset and left early, returning with a gun. He first confronted Mr. Sneed as he was driving away from the meeting in his pickup. Group member Ozella Burnley said she thought the two men were just talking until Mr. Latimer pulled out a handgun and shot Mr. Sneed three times.

With Mr. Sneed mortally wounded, the truck accelerated through the parking lot and crossed Jim Miller Road before it crashed into a fence.

Mr. Latimer then went inside the building searching for Ms. Fields. Ms. Porter said she was in the restroom when her panicked friend found her.

“I heard a lot of commotion and Lois ran in,” Ms. Porter said. “She said, ‘Melonee, Melonee help me.’ Yolland came in the restroom behind her. … He said ‘[expletive], I done told you about playing with my feelings.’ ”

As Ms. Fields raised her hands in a futile attempt to defend herself from the gunshots, Mr. Latimer shot her three times. He then left the bathroom but returned when he heard Ms. Fields calling for help, witnesses said. He put the gun against the back of her head and fired again.

“He is a cold, hard executioner,” prosecutor Heath Hyde said in closing arguments. “He did exactly what he set out to do.”

In the year since the shooting, the Narcotics Anonymous group has not foundered. The chapter is still open for meetings throughout the week and has not lost any members, the sister of one active member said after the trial.

“That’s the kind of thing that might have caused my sister to relapse and go back on the streets, but this group has stayed together and may be stronger now,” she said.