Feds hope slain informant’s tapes convict gang members in drug case
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter April 21, 2014 6:40PM
Updated: May 23, 2014 6:21AM
On a day when Mayor Rahm Emanuel again railed against the “no snitch” code, federal jurors Monday heard a voice from beyond the grave.
It belonged to Keith Daniels — a federal and police informant who paid the ultimate price for helping authorities take on one of Chicago’s deadliest gangs.
Gunned down last year in front of his terrified young son and girlfriend within days of being unmasked as a cooperating witness, Daniels, 27, helped police solve one of Chicago’s highest-profile murders of 2011 — the botched drive-by shooting of an innocent bystander, 13-year-old Darius “Bay Bay” Brown.
Two recordings of his voice were played for jurors Monday in a second case — that of alleged heroin dealing “Hobo” gang members Lance “Double” Dillard and Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester.
Prosecutors are relying phone calls and conversations Daniels secretly taped to prove Chester and Dillard sold as much as $8,000 worth of dope at a time.
But pre-trial rulings by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur mean jurors won’t hear about Daniels’ murder.
Instead, FBI Agent Bryant Hill testified simply: “Mr. Daniels is deceased.”
The Sun-Times previously reported that another member of the Hobos, Paris Poe, who was on house arrest, cut off an ankle bracelet monitor and went on the lam soon after Chester and Dillard’s arrests made it clear Daniels was cooperating against the Hobos.
Though Poe — who allegedly has a history of threatening witnesses — has not been charged with Daniels’ murder, Cook County prosecutors accused him during a hearing last year of riddling Daniels’ body of with 16 bullets as payback for snitching.
Chester and Dillard’s attorneys on Monday took advantage of Daniels’ death by questioning whether voices heard on the tapes Daniels made are actually Chester and Dillard’s. Since Daniels cannot now testify, prosecutors must rely on an FBI agent to identify the voices.
Daniels began cooperating with Chicago Police in May 2011 in an attempt to work off a gun arrest, but was cooperating with the feds purely for financial gain, Hill testified Monday.
The government paid him $28,000; $6,000 of that was for the Chester and Dillard case, Hill testified.
The trial is expected to last a week. A date for a second, bigger trial of other alleged Hobo members — whose crimes allegedly included robbing NBA stars — has yet to be set.