Updated: August 27, 2014 7:04PM
They made their name robbing NBA stars and slaying federal informants, authorities say.
But the Hobos, an ultra violent Chicago “supergang,” suffered a heavy blow Wednesday when a middle-ranking member confessed to his role in five murders — and vowed to help the government convict his former bosses.
Byron “B-Rupt” Brown agreed to the plea deal in a bid to avoid the death penalty.
“Yes, sir,” Brown, 29, calmly replied when U.S. District Judge John Tharp asked him, “Did you agree to murder people?”
Wearing a drab green Livingston County jail jumpsuit, he repeated the phrase several times as Tharp then asked him in turn about the 2007 and 2008 murders of Larry Tucker, Kenneth Mosby, Daniel Dupree, Tommye Freeman and Eddie Moss.
And he repeated it again when asked if he understood that if he fails to follow through on his offer to cooperate, prosecutors could tear up their agreement to ask for a sentence of 35 to 40 years.
“Yes, sir,” he said when told the death penalty would then be back on the table.
It was a low key but potentially pivotal breakthrough in law enforcements’ long battle with the Hobos, which got its “supergang” tag because it was formed by leading members of previously rival factions.
Formed in the Robert Taylor Homes on the South Side, the Hobos dealt drugs, robbed rival dealers and were suspected in a rash of holdups of NBA players, including the robbery from then-NBA star Antoine Walker of a $55,000 watch outside of a near West Side restaurant in 2000.
Though the NBA robberies are not part of the case against Brown and eight other Hobos indicted last year, Brown on Wednesday confessed to murdering semi-pro basketball player Eddie Moss in 2007 in a case of mistaken identity.
Several other crimes he confessed to had chilling details, including the 2008 murder of drug dealer Daniel Dupree, who woke up as Brown removed jewelry from his sleeping body, and was then gunned down.
Brown’s guilty plea and deal is likely bad news for alleged Hobos leaders Paris Poe and Arnold Council, who allegedly killed Wilbert Moore in 2006 because he was cooperating with law enforcement authorities.
Poe, 34, also is suspected of killing FBI informant Keith Daniels outside his south suburban home last year.
Daniels — murdered in front of his young son and girlfriend — had been unmasked as an informant just four days earlier.