Mistrial is declared in case of accused gang warfare

3 men were charged in kidnapping, shooting

April 13, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A mistrial was declared yesterday in the case of three alleged gang members after jurors failed to reach unanimous verdicts on several charges facing them.

A new trial date of Aug. 26 has been set for Shawn Henry, 25, Michael Lyle, 22, and Tyrone Creighton, 28, on 32 charges on which the jurors could not agree. The men each faced 25 charges - including attempted murder, kidnapping and carjacking - in an incident prosecutors say was retaliation for the fatal shooting in November 2000 of fellow gang member Keith "Bones" Hamlet. The jury found the men not guilty on 43 charges.

The men were accused of kidnapping Larhonda Lomax Jan. 9 of last year from her home at Arbor Station Way, taking her to a house in the 1600 block of Normal Ave., tying her up and questioning her about the whereabouts of her husband, Charles Byers, a member of a rival gang called Hot Boyz. Lomax was eventually driven to Pinewood Avenue, where prosecutors say Henry shot her in the neck.

She testified last week that she "played dead" until her abductors left, then knocked on nearby doors, begging people to call police.

Assistant State's Attorney James Wallner said Henry, Lyle and Creighton blame Hot Boyz members for Hamlet's death, and that Hamlet and Henry are cousins. In a Memorial Day shooting last year, four months after Lomax's abduction, 12 people were shot at a party in honor of Hamlet, including Henry's girlfriend, Lakeisha Moten, who was fatally wounded.

Jurors sent out several questions to Circuit Judge John N. Prevas during three days of deliberations.

The mistrial was declared after the jury forewoman told Prevas that jurors would not be able to render unanimous verdicts on 32 counts.

Henry was found not guilty on six of 25 charges, including carjacking, and jurors failed to reach a decision on the remaining 19 he faced.

Lyle was found not guilty on 15 charges, including attempted first-degree murder. Jurors did not reach a decision in 10 charges against him.

And Creighton, who Lomax testified wasn't present when she was abducted and told her at Normal Avenue that he didn't hurt women and children, was found not guilty on all but two charges he faced.

"I think the jury really weighed the evidence in accordance with what they heard with three separate alleged crime scenes, and their verdicts reflect their hard work," said attorney Stanley Needleman, who represented Creighton. "I felt that if we pushed the jury any more, they were going to shut down."

Domenic Iamele represented Henry; Richard Karceski represented Lyle.

During the trial, defense attorneys criticized Lomax for initially telling police she didn't know her assailants but later identifying them as Henry, Lyle and Creighton.

Defense lawyers also attempted to discredit Lomax, saying the house she shared with Byers was a known haven for drugs and weapons. Finally, they contended that she concocted the case.

Lomax said on cross-examination that she didn't tell police who abducted her initially out of fear.

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