March, 30 2001
23 years old
According to a medical examiner’s report, Hayden fatally shot Bessie once in the head during at argument at Bessie’s home. All four of her children were present at the murder. After calling his brother and vowing that he would not go to jail for killing Bessie, Hayden killed himself in an alley.
Hayden Harris had a long history of escalating violence against Bessie Thompson. Bessie had recently changed the locks on her apartment and had filed a restraining order against Hayden. On January 23, 2001, Hayden was scheduled to stand trial on five separate domestic violence incidents against Bessie and if convicted he would have faced a nineteen-year prison term. A few days later the
case fell apart and was dismissed. Fearing she would be forced to testify against Hayden, Bessie fled. Hayden’s attorney successfully convinced the court to dismiss the cases against Hayden because Bessie was not present. Hayden had previously been convicted of a felony.