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March 25, 2011

Alleged "Bounty Hunter" gang member takes plea

[This post has been updated]

A seventh man was convicted in Baltimore Circuit Court Friday in what police and prosecutors say was a gang-related killing of a man who was beaten, wrapped in a blanket, stabbed and set on fire for failing to carry out a task.

With his trial about to begin – in which several co-defendants were expected to testify – 25-year-old Anthony Williams entered an Alford plea, maintaining his innocence but acknowledging prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him in the murder of Petro Taylor in December 2008.

“The evidence the state would present was very strong, and he was afraid the jury would believe the witnesses,” said his defense attorney, Nicole Egerton.

Police say that members and associates of the “Bounty Hunters,” a so-called enforcement arm of the Bloods gang, met for a party at the Red Carpet Inn on Reisterstown Road. There, Taylor was attacked and tossed into the trunk of a vehicle, believed to be dead.

The suspects drove to Leakin Park to dispose of the body, but realized he was still alive and stabbed him three dozen times before dousing him in gasoline and setting his body ablaze, sources told The Sun at the time.

Detectives were able to obtain surveillance footage from the motel, showing a blanket-wrapped body being placed into the trunk.

Authorities have previously convicted “Bounty Hunter” members in similarly ruthless crimes. In one case, a member from California was sent across the country to Baltimore, where he slashed a 19-year-old man with a boxcutter, smashed him with a sledgehammer and stabbed him with a samurai sword before setting his body on fire.

Two Baltimore members of the group were also convicted in a separate case for shooting a fellow member in the back of the head for “false-flagging,” or misrepresenting his status in the gang.
In the Red Carpet Inn case, Taylor’s misdeed was failing to drop off into the commissary account of a fellow member being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Seven people were charged, including three female co-defendants, Grechauna Rogers, 18, Tenisha Lawson, 20, and Sierra Pyles, 21, who each pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. They have not been sentenced yet, with their pleas held pending their participation in Williams’ now-aborted trial.

Three other men, Devin Melton, 19, Lawrence Walker, 21, and Dominique Boone, 19, were also initially charged with conspiracy to commit murder and pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, receiving 10 years in prison with all but three years suspended. Walker has already been accused of violating his probation, court records show.

Williams’ plea agreement includes a cap on his sentence not to exceed life with all but 30 years suspended. He will be sentenced April 6, Egerton said.

Related: A chapter is dedicated to this ongoing case in a book written by former Baltimore Police Det. Sgt. Kelvin Sewell and Investigative Voice founder Stephen Janis.

Posted by Justin Fenton at 3:31 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Courts and the justice system, Gangs, Northwest Baltimore
        

Comments

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.



Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.
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