Tense hearing in alleged gang members' case

Pretrial motions aired in five Baltimore killings

February 01, 2003|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

An alleged member of East Baltimore's violent Hot Boys gang cursed at a federal prosecutor after a testy courtroom exchange yesterday in a case that holds the group responsible for five city killings, including a brazen block party shooting that killed the girlfriend of a rival gang leader.

Kevin "Manny" Glenn muttered an expletive at Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Purcell as he walked past the lawyer after facing brief but heated questioning on the witness stand during a pretrial evidence hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

"What did you say to me?" Purcell shot back, rising from his chair as the dozen deputy U.S. marshals in the closely guarded courtroom jumped to their feet and family members of the men who will stand trial jeered at the exchange.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz quickly intervened.

"There is absolutely no reason for that to have been said to Mr. Purcell," Motz said, hushing the courtroom in a low, firm voice. "If anybody says anything like that again in this courtroom, they are going to be held in contempt of court."

Glenn, 25, is identified in court papers as being responsible for the machine-gun killing Nov. 11, 2000, of Keith "Bones" Hamlet, a rival gang member whose death touched off what became a symbol in 2001 of city violence.

A "Rest in Peace" block party thrown that year to remember Hamlet over Memorial Day weekend ended with gunfire, allegedly from members of the Hot Boys gang. The shooting wounded 11 people and killed Lakeisha Monich Moten, 24, the girlfriend of one of the leaders of the rival North Avenue/Harford Road Boys gang.

Hamlet was killed in a spray of machine- gun fire at his aunt's home at 2032 E. North Ave. -- the site of the shootings at the crowded block party six months later.

Another man, Tavon D. Dixon, initially was charged in Hamlet's death. But state prosecutors later dropped the murder charges against Dixon, and the federal indictment against 12 alleged members of the Hot Boys gang identified Glenn as firing the shots that killed Hamlet.

In court yesterday, defense attorneys sought to keep out of the coming trial statements that Glenn is said to have made to police in February 2001 after he and two other men were arrested in an East Baltimore apartment where police also found more than 1,300 vials of cocaine and two loaded handguns.

Slouched at the witness stand, Glenn denied police accounts that he had claimed the guns and drugs were his and drew pointed questions from Purcell about why an officer he had never encountered before would invent such a statement.

Motz rejected the effort to suppress Glenn's statement.

The Hot Boys trial is scheduled to start Feb. 24. Some of the defendants face charges that could have brought a death sentence, but prosecutors are not seeking the federal death penalty in the case.

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