Informant’s slaying doesn’t stop gang members’ conviction on drug charges
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter April 29, 2014 4:44PM
Updated: June 1, 2014 6:32AM
The “snitch” who set them up was murdered.
But even that couldn’t save heroin-dealing members of the Hobos “supergang,” Lance “Double” Dillard and Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester.
Both men were convicted by a federal jury Tuesday based on evidence collected by informant Keith Daniels, who was allegedly gunned down by another member of their gang soon after he was exposed as the man who secretly recorded them peddling dope on the South Side.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erika Csicsila told jurors on Monday that Dillard, 31, and Chester, 37, went out of their way “to make sure that this day, in this courtroom, never came” by exercising extreme caution in how they conducted their deals.
But rulings made by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur meant that jurors weren’t allowed to hear that Daniels was murdered — allegedly as payback for cooperating with the feds.
After a day of deliberations, jurors nonetheless convicted Dillard on three counts of dealing heroin, and Chester on two counts.
Dillard faces 10 years to life behind bars, while Chester faces up to 20 years when they are sentenced later this year. But in what Chester’s attorney, Larry Beaumont called a “partial victory,” jurors found that Chester sold less than 100 grams of heroin, meaning he faces no mandatory minimum sentence.
Beaumont said he doesn’t expect the government to bring up Daniel’s murder at Chester’s sentencing, because “there is no evidence that he is involved.”
The Hobos got their “supergang” title from law enforcement officials, who say the group is composed of hardened rival gang members who came together to commit high-profile crimes, including robbing NBA stars.
Though nobody has been charged with Daniels’ murder, Hobos gang leader Paris Poe was accused in court by Cook County prosecutors of cutting off an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet before hunting down and killing Daniels as revenge for his cooperation.
A date for a second, bigger trial of other alleged Hobo members has yet to be set.