Death penalty to be sought for 2 alleged gang leaders

Prosecutors accuse men of multiple city homicides

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

Federal prosecutors said yesterday that they would seek the death penalty against two men charged as leaders of a violent West Baltimore drug gang that authorities say was responsible for multiple homicides in the city, including the death of one man who was a witness to a double homicide.

Prosecutors filed notice yesterday that they would seek the death penalty against two reputed leaders of the so-called Lexington Terrace Boys -- Keon D. Moses, 19, also known as "Black," and Michael Lafayette Taylor, 18, whose street nickname is "Mike Mumbles."

Moses and Taylor are scheduled to stand trial this fall in what could be the first federal death penalty trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore since 1998, when a jury rejected the death sentence for convicted drug lord and killer Anthony Ayeni Jones.

Moses and Taylor were indicted in September along with Aaron Demarco Foster, 23, on charges of using a firearm to commit murder as part of a drug conspiracy, a federal crime that can result in the death penalty. The three men were charged in at least six killings.

The men also face drug trafficking, carjacking and witness-tampering charges.

Prosecutors did not file a death penalty notice against Foster, who is known on the street as "Turk," "Ace" and "Little Aaron."

Foster's attorney, William B. Purpura, said authorities had determined that Moses and Taylor were more culpable than his client.

If convicted, Foster could be sentenced to life in prison.

Vickie E. LeDuc, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, said prosecutors would not comment on the decision.

Defense attorney Arcangelo M. Tuminelli, who represents Moses, said the government's decision, "did not come as a surprise."

Attorney Robert W. Biddle, who represents Taylor, said his client denies the government's charges.

"We intend to contest every element of the government's case," Biddle said.

Among the people the leaders of the Lexington Terrace Boys are accused of killing was Robert "Snoop" McManus, 24, who was shot Feb. 22 last year to prevent him from testifying about a double homicide that occurred five months earlier, according to court records.

That incident, on Sept. 23, 2001, left Ronald Harris, 23, and Gregory Spain, 30, dead, and Charles Brockington, 22, wounded after a shooting in the basement of a rowhouse in the 300 block of Calhoun St.

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