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Feds seek life sentence for former Hobos gang member linked to five killings

February 27, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds seek life sentence for former Hobos gang member linked to five killings

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Federal prosecutors are seeking to put a former member of the violent Hobos street gang behind bars for the rest of his life, alleging that he agreed to cooperate with authorities and then lied to try to connect a co-defendant in one of the five killings in which he was involved in.

U.S. attorneys recommended that 32-year-old Byron Brown should serve two consecutive life sentences behind bars after discovering he lied in interviews with authorities and in his grand jury testimony during their racketeering investigation into the Hobos.

Brown’s sentencing is scheduled on Monday by U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp.

Brown pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering back in 2014, which he confessed to carrying out three murders and was present at two others between 2007 and 2008. In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors originally agreed to recommend a sentence of 35 to 40 years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

However, Brown’s false story of one of the 2008 killings negated what would have been a reduced sentence if he testified truthfully, federal authorities said in a court filing. Brown acknowledged that he had lied in an affidavit yet still tried to withdraw his guilty plea, citing ineffective counsel. A judge has denied that proposal.

“Brown engaged in years of violent crimes, wreaking havoc on Chicago and leaving five families to mourn the loss of loved ones due to murders at Byron Brown’s hands or because of crimes in which he participated,” prosecutors stated in a sentencing memorandum.

Members of the Hobo street gang were charged with murder, racketeering and more. Clockwise, from top left: Gregory Chester, 36; Gabriel Bush, 34; William Ford, 33; Byron Brown, 28; Paris Poe, 33; and Gary Chester, 35.

Prosecutors referred to the five killings linked to Brown as “ruthless” and “cold-blooded.”

In 2007, he ordered Eddie Moss Jr., a semipro basketball player he confused for a rival, to lie face-down on the ground before shooting and killing him ten times outside of his home.

In 2008, Brown and two gang members, including his now-deceased twin brother, held a woman at gunpoint to break into an apartment, prosecutors said. Once they got inside, one of the men fatally shot Larry Tucker in front of the woman’s two children before the gang members escaped with narcotics and other possessions.

Also in 2008, Brown shot Kenneth Mosby after he and his brother went to the South Side of the city to find a drug dealer to rob. Days later, Brown and a fellow Hobos member, Rodney Jones, robbed Daniel Dupree inside of his vehicle. Dupree tried to fight back, and Brown shot Dupree in the chest, according to prosecutors.

As Brown fled the scene of a robbery in July 2008, he rode with two other gang members in a getaway car that crashed into another vehicle and killed its driver, Tommye Ruth Freeman.

“Brown did not care if he murdered innocent people like Eddie Moss, Jr., or that he imperiled the life of Tommye Ruth Freeman while fleeing from police,” prosecutors stated. “What mattered to Brown was his self-preservation and his self-aggrandizement through his affiliation with the Hobos.”

It was with Tucker’s murder that prosecutors claim that Brown provided false testimony, although prosecutors have not specified which co-defendant Brown wrongfully accused.

Federal prosecutors have said the Hobos directed a widespread narcotics enterprise in Chicago’s South and West sides, dealing marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. They introduced fear in rival gangbangers with horrific acts of violence, including robbing drug dealers at gunpoint, abductions, and torture. They even targeted a former NBA player for a stickup after he was recognized at a nightclub wearing an expensive necklace.

Prosecutors said that Brown, who went by the nickname “B-Rupt,” was a member of the gang from 2004 until his July 2008 arrest.

“Brown identified with the Hobos and bragged how they were an All-Star team of gangsters,” prosecutors said. “He relished in access to high-powered guns, cars, and the lavish lifestyle that being part of a ruthless team of killers afforded him and other Hobos. Brown considered so importantly the street reputation that he had with the Hobos, and was willing to go to great lengths — including murder — to protect that reputation. Criminal enterprises like the Hobos are deadly, and they terrorize people in Chicago, creating a culture of fear and death.”

Authorities prosecuted several leading members of the gang in a major racketeering conspiracy case in 2016, contending that the group committed eight killings over the course of a decade as well as a myriad of other brazen crimes that left victims seriously injured.

A jury convicted infamous Hobos leader Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester and alleged gang associates Paris Poe, Arnold Council, Gabriel Bush, Derrick Vaughn and William Ford in January after a 15-week trial that featured hundreds of witnesses.

The six defendants are set to be sentenced on June 23rd. Four are facing mandatory life sentences while two others face the possibility of life behind bars.

In addition to recommending a life sentence for Brown, prosecutors are also requesting that he be ordered to pay close to $31,000 in restitution for three of the murder victims’ families for funeral expenses.

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