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‘Killing Crew’ leader Bethany suspected in police informant’s murder: cop

Rashod Bethany

Rashod Bethany

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Updated: April 22, 2013 12:27PM

Rashod “Fat Man” Bethany — the reputed head of a Far South Side gang faction called the “Killing Crew” — is suspected of murdering a Chicago Police informant, a detective testified Wednesday.

Bethany, who has pleaded guilty to a drug-conspiracy charge, ran two crack-cocaine houses in the Roseland neighborhood, using violence to keep his workers in line and witnesses’ mouths shut, prosecutors said.

At Bethany’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, Detective John Otto testified that Bethany is suspected in the killing of Lavon Hough over a drug dispute. Hough was an informant for the Chicago Police Department, Otto said.

Hough, a drug dealer, taught Bethany how to make crack cocaine from powder cocaine. Bethany ruined a batch and Hough refused to pay him for it, Otto said.

Because of the dispute, Hough told police he was afraid Bethany was going to harm him, Otto said.

About a week later, on May 13, 2005, a masked gunman fatally shot Hough near 119th and Emerald, less than a block from one of Bethany’s crack houses, Otto said.

A witness told police he saw the gunman remove the mask — and recognized the killer as Bethany, Otto said.

The government presented other evidence of Bethany’s alleged violence, including testimony from a crack-cocaine user who lived in one of Bethany’s crack houses.

The witness, Fredrick Gaines, recalled Bethany once “twisting my arm like it was a chicken wing” for skimming $10 from a drug sale.

“I’m kind of scared of the guy,” Gaines said, adding that he heard from people who lived in one of the crack houses that Bethany was a killer.

Bethany hasn’t been charged with any violence — including Hough’s killing or four other murders that prosecutors think are linked to him.

Still, prosecutors are allowed to present evidence of the alleged violence to U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to seek a maximum prison term for Bethany.

Bethany faces 10 to 30 years in prison. The judge is expected to sentence Bethany as early as Thursday.

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