Witness testifies against last indicted gang member

Prosecution rests case

no defense offered

March 21, 2003|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

Prosecutors wrapped up their case yesterday against Elijah Richardson, who authorities believe played a role in a violent East Baltimore drug ring blamed in five city killings.

Richardson, 23, charged in a revenge shooting that occurred two years ago in the 700 block of Bartlett Ave., is the last of a dozen indicted members of the so-called Lafayette Project Boys brought before a U.S. District Court judge in Baltimore.

Three men identified as the gang's leaders - Charles "Bok" Byers, Leon Coleman and Darryl "Tiger" Robertson - pleaded guilty this month to federal drug distribution conspiracy charges.

Over 3 1/2 days of testimony, prosecutors have laid out the organization's activities through the testimony of Richardson's alleged co-conspirators, illuminating the gang's wholesale and retail operations and its culture of violence.

One witness, Dietrick "D-Bone" Fortune, told the jury that Jan. 9, 2001, two days after he had celebrated his 25th birthday, he and Richardson approached a dark green GMC truck, fired inside at its driver then ran away.

Fortune, awaiting sentencing on one count of conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, testified that he and Richardson met a week later, near the home of Fortune's daughter's grandmother.

"He was concerned about if the guy lived or not," Fortune told jurors, paraphrasing his friend's remarks: "He said, `Did you hear anything, yo, if the guy lived?' "

"I said, `No, man.' "

The shooting victim, Perry Bowles, survived.

When the government rested its case yesterday, Richardson's attorney, David Ash, declined to offer a defense.

"I don't need to," Ash said later. "He's not guilty."

Closing arguments are set for Monday.

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