Investigators say James Barron and his mother, Michelle Lee Miller, conspired to murder a material witness on two pending homicide cases against him.
Holiday, Florida -- Pasco detectives say they have foiled a plot aimed at killing a key witness in an upcoming murder trial.
The suspect's own mother, they say, was also involved in trying to order a jail-house hit.
Officials say James Barron, 23, still behind bars at the Pasco Detention Center in Land O' Lakes, is scheduled to stand trial for two murders this coming January.
One of the key witnesses against him is a former, fellow gang associate who wore a recording device to capture Barron's confession.
Detectives say Barron wanted that witness dead, and turned to his own mother to help arrange the hit.
"We were able to intercept a letter that he was trying to send out to have a witness killed," said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.
From behind bars, detectives say Barron used his gang connections to orchestrate a hit on the informant, who is doing time at another prison.
Barron sent his mother, 44-year-old Michelle Miller, a letter encrypted with secret gang words and phrases.
Miller then figured out the informant was serving time at Sumter Correctional, and forwarded the note to another inmate at that same facility.
The note, they say, instructed imprisoned gang members to "Peter-roll" - code for murder - the witness.
"She had read the letter and forwarded the letter knowing what it was," said Det. William Lindsey.
Barron is accused of killing 18-year-old Cedric Saunders and 24-year-old Kamar Allen.
Both men were shot to death in Holiday in separate incidents back in 2011.
"It's hard to tell with Michelle. One day she's a sweet little girl and the next day she's conniving," said Charlamee Smith, Miller's mother.
Smith says she loves her daughter and grandson, but was saddened and disappointed when police came to their house in Holiday a few days ago and took Miller away in handcuffs.
"I know they know right from wrong and I told them there is no easy way out. You've gotta earn what you get and right now they're getting what they earned, because they've done wrong," said Smith.
Detectives also announced a third related arrest. They say another inmate named Daniel Feliciano, 32, was charged with threatening another potential witness against Barron.
The informants have now been placed in protective custody, say investigators.
Barron and his mom are both charged with solicitation to commit murder, a first-degree felony which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.