A federal prosecutor laid out a violent, terrifying story Wednesday for jurors as opening statements began in the trial of six alleged members of Chicago’s so-called “super gang” the Hobos.
Federal prosecutor Patrick Otlewski told jurors that the super gang was “an all-star team of the worst of the worst.”
“You will look into the eyes of murderers,” Otlewski said.
There’s alleged Hobo assassin Paris Poe, for instance, who allegedly killed FBI informant, Keith Daniels, in front of Daniels’ two small children.
“Who would kill a young father in front of his kids,” Otlewski asked, staring in Poe’s direction. “A cold-blooded murderer, and his name is Paris Poe.”
Prosecutors believe Daniels was murdered to keep him from testifying, but the judge has ruled Daniels may speak from the grave through grand jury testimony offered before his death.
Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys may need more than four hours Wednesday to lay out the case for jurors, who should settle in for months of testimony about brazen violence, torture and murder on Chicago’s South and West sides. The racketeering trial is taking place in the 14th floor courtroom of U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.
As defense attorney Beau Brindley began his opening statement around noon, it became clear that the Chicago Police Department may be a critical part of the defense, with Brindley saying the case is “all about the lies of the Chicago Police Department.”
In court filings, the feds have tied six alleged Hobo gang members to nine murders, including the executions of Chicago Police informant Wilbert Moore and Daniels — the brother of one of the alleged gang members on trial.
The Hobos used teamwork, homework, rental cars and police scanners to commit their crimes, Otlewski said. The Hobos’ violence spanned nearly a decade, from 2004 to 2013.
Otlewski described how Hobo members robbed then NBA player Bobby Simmons in 2006 of a $200,000 necklace. When Simmons chased after them in his car, Poe allegedly opened fire on him.
Otlewski showed jurors several murder scene photos as well as a clothing iron that the Hobos allegedly used to torture two brothers.
It’s not clear if prosecutors will have time to call their first witness Wednesday. But if they do, they’ve said it will be Nicholas Roti, the former chief of the organized crime bureau for the Chicago Police Department.
Prosecutors want Roti to testify as an expert about Chicago street gangs. But defense attorneys hope to attack him on cross examination over his ties to the controversial police facility at Homan Square and allegations that he participated in retaliation against two officers who helped the feds prosecute corrupt Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts.
This latest trial is taking place amid heightened concern over the city’s soaring murder numbers, and Otlewski has been known to city Chicago’s notorious violence in court.
During the sentencing of Hobo gang member Gary Chester in May 2015, Otlewski cited the title of the upcoming Spike Lee film and said, “This is Chicago. It’s not ‘Chiraq.’”
The feds say Chester’s cousin, Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester, was the Hobos’ undisputed leader. Continue Reading
Article Org: Chicago.suntimes.com