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Old 01-05-2017, 11:54 AM
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Default Been a long trial: But HOBOS "Super Gang Leader is Guility of killing 8

This one news item on gangs is for the record books. Power does become evil in the long run and anyone that thinks they can control it is fooling themselves. IMHO.

.................................................. ........... PART # 1

Jury convicts reputed leaders of Hobos 'super gang' for 8 killings
Thursday 5th January 2017.

Even in a city where gangs and gun violence have plagued neighborhoods for decades, the Hobos were in a class of their own.

As they built a vast narcotics empire, the Hobos, a "super gang" made up of leaders from rival Chicago street gangs, ruled by fear, federal prosecutors alleged. They robbed drug dealers at gunpoint, kidnapped and tortured rivals, even targeted a former NBA player for a stickup after he was spotted at a nightclub wearing a pricey necklace.

But it was the shootings that truly terrorized communities. Using high-powered weapons, the Hobos opened fire on one victim outside a day care, another at a crowded block party, two more in front of a funeral home. The Hobos went after informants, too, killing one outside a barbershop and ambushing another as he drove up to his suburban home with his fiancee and two young kids.

On Wednesday, a federal jury convicted six reputed Hobos leaders of racketeering conspiracy charges alleging the gang carried out a total of eight murders over the course of a decade as well as a slew of kidnappings, robberies and shootings that left several people gravely wounded.....

After a marathon 15-week trial that featured hundreds of witnesses and four days of closing arguments, the jury deliberated into a sixth day before finding all six defendants guilty of the main racketeering count carrying a sentence of up to life in prison.

Among those convicted was Gregory "Bowlegs" Chester, the gang's reputed leader who testified in his own defense last month. The jury also convicted alleged gang lieutenants Paris Poe, Arnold Council, Gabriel Bush, Derrick Vaughn and William Ford.

Four other members of the gang, including Chester's cousin, pleaded guilty before trial. An 11th Hobo died before charges were handed down, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The trial unfolded as skyrocketing gun violence in Chicago made embarrassing headlines across the country and even became an issue in the presidential election. Earlier this week, President-elect Donald Trump called for federal intervention if local authorities can't get a handle on a homicide rate that in 2016 reached levels not seen in two decades.

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said the ury's finding sends a message to other would-be gang members that violence will be confronted and "somebody is here to punch back."

"The Hobos street gang was as bad as it gets," Fardon said in the lobby of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse. "These men were ruthless in their pursuit of crime and violence. They sought to join forces to enrich themselves and empower themselves through fear and violence. ... They terrorized Chicago neighborhoods on the South Side for years."
Hobos tattoo

Hobos gang leader Paris Poe's back tattoo that states "The Earth Is Our Turf" with "Hobo" in the center. (Provided by U.S. attorney)

Fardon also said the gang was a "reflection of the realities" that law enforcement and community leaders face in dealing with the spiraling violence — a seemingly endless cycle in which poverty and other socioeconomic factors force kids into gangs at a young age.

"As much as I wished the verdict means the end of the cycle ... it does not," he said.

As the verdicts were read in U.S. District Judge John Tharp's packed courtroom, Chester sat without expression, his elbow on the defense table and a hand resting on his right cheek. Behind him, Poe, dressed in a gray suit and leather loafers with shackles on his ankles visible, frowned and rolled his eyes.

Later, when the judge praised the jury for its "extraordinary service," Poe appeared to smirk.

The verdict took nearly 20 minutes for the judge to read aloud in the courtroom. The jury found that four of the defendants — Poe, Council, Bush and Vaughn — carried out a combined five murders, some by themselves or with one other. But the jury held those four defendants as well as Chester and Ford responsible for all eight murders by its guilty verdict on the conspiracy count.

The jury acquitted on only one lesser count against Ford for using a gun in furtherance of a gang crime.

Since they were convicted of personally taking part in at least one murder each, Poe, Council, Bush and Vaughn each faces a mandatory life sentence. On the other hand, Chester and Ford face up to the possibility of life in prison.

Tharp set sentencing for June 23.

Attorneys for the six defendants left the courthouse without comment, but Chester's attorney, Beau Brindley, later emailed a statement alleging police had used unscrupulous tactics to build the Hobos case and that the racketeering law used to convict the defendants was "an instrument of injustice."

"Chester's conviction results not from evidence of anything he actually did, but from prosecutors' use of the RICO statute to obtain convictions in the absence of proof and provide the public with a convenient scapegoat for the city's violence epidemic," Brindley said.

Not since El Rukn trials two decades ago had so much violence been alleged against a single gang. Heavy security was in place at the courthouse for the duration of the trial, and the names of jurors were kept secret.

Some witnesses appeared intimidated by the gang's reputation for violence. Several testified only after warnings they would be held in contempt of court. But Mack Mason, a former auto body shop employee, refused to take the stand, saying some of his family still lived in the area that the Hobos operated in. The judge ordered him jailed for 60 days.

Testifying in October, former NBA player Bobby Simmons said he couldn't remember details of the night he claimed he was robbed at gunpoint of a necklace worth more than $100,000 outside the Ice Bar in River North in 2006. It was only after Simmons was confronted with his own grand jury testimony that the Chicago native and former DePaul University star acknowledged Poe had snatched the diamond-studded necklace from his neck, then fired at least 14 shots at his truck as Simmons gave chase across the South Side.

The centerpiece of the case was the alleged murders of two informants who were cooperating with law enforcement against the gang. Jurors heard evidence that Poe and Council fatally shot Wilbert "Big Shorty" Moore outside a South Side barbershop in 2006 because they believed Moore had provided information to police that led to a raid on a Hobos residence.

In April 2013, Poe cut off an electronic monitoring device and ambushed informant Keith Daniels outside the Dolton apartment where he had been moved by authorities for his safety, according to prosecutors. Dressed in all black and wearing a mask, Poe shot Daniels more than a dozen times in front of his fiancee and two young children as payback for Daniels' cooperation with the FBI in a drug conspiracy case against Chester, the charges alleged.

After prosecutors rested their case in early December, the trial took a dramatic twist when Chester made the unusual decision to testify in his own defense. In three days on the witness stand, Chester admitted to dealing drugs but denied he was the leader of the Hobos and even went as far as to suggest that the gang does not exist.

Chester, 39, who walks with a severe limp due to a childhood bone disease, denied taking part in any shootings or killings and scoffed at the notion that anyone with a disability could be the head of such an allegedly violent enterprise.

Jury convicts reputed leaders of Hobos 'super gang' for 8 killings - Chicago Tribune

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Last edited by mlurp; 01-05-2017 at 12:12 PM..
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