Man indicted in killing of federal drug informant

Leaked FBI document named witness

December 03, 2010|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

A 30-year-old Baltimore man was indicted Thursday in the killing of an undercover police drug informant who became a marked man when an FBI report containing his name was leaked and displayed throughout his neighborhood.

Antonio "Mack" Hall, a felon, could face life in federal prison or the death penalty if convicted in last year's execution-style killing in Westport and of numerous gun offenses. A woman has also been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the case.

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein announced the charges Friday in a statement that called the investigation of the Sept. 20, 2009, killing of Kareem Guest a top priority for Baltimore's FBI field office. "This case tragically highlights the risks that arise when sensitive information about witnesses in criminal cases is not protected," the prosecutor said.

Guest sat down with FBI agents in 2008 and provided them with enough information about the selling of heroin branded "Dynasty" in Westport to help federal prosecutors convict eight people, including the ringleader, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Documents filed this summer in U.S. District Court in Baltimore said that prosecutors had given Guest's nine-page typewritten transcript to two defense attorneys whose clients had planned to fight the criminal drug charges at trial. They later pleaded guilty.

The sensitive material has to be disclosed to attorneys to help them prepare a defense, a legal process known as discovery. Prosecutors require defense attorneys to sign agreements barring them from distributing the material.

One defense attorney, David R. Solomon, told The Baltimore Sun in June that he shared the information with his client — which is allowed — but did not give him a copy. The other lawyer, Michael Carithers, had left his Baltimore law firm and could not be reached for comment. Phone numbers to his house and cell phone were disconnected.

The court documents allege that Guest's FBI statement was given to a defendant's mother. It was then, federal prosecutors said, "distributed and displayed … throughout Westport."

A spokeswoman for the Maryland U.S. attorney's office declined to say whether either of the defense attorneys is under investigation. Solomon said he had been told by the FBI that he was not a target of an investigation.

Guest, 31, was repeatedly shot in the head and chest about 10 p.m. Sept. 20, 2009. He collapsed on Maisel Court — a walkway between low-rise apartment buildings known as "the blacktop" — near where he had lived with his mother.

Authorities have long believed that Raine Zircon Curtis, 30, witnessed the shooting and said she was caught on a recorded phone call to her imprisoned boyfriend bragging about the slaying. "Kareem got killed last night," she said, according to court documents. "They killed that boy while he was right there. … We was standing right there."

But prosecutors said Curtis told a federal grand jury she hadn't seen anything. The U.S. attorney's office charged Curtis in May with perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to a grand jury. She has been detained since April and has a trial pending.

Hall is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled Tuesday. Prosecutors said a decision on whether to seek the death penalty will be made by the U.S. attorney general "after carefully considering the defendant's background and the circumstances of the crime."

Maryland court records show that Hall has been arrested about two dozen times over the past 20 years and convicted four times since 1996 of drug distribution and drug possession, the latest last year. He has been charged five times with attempted first-degree murder but never convicted.

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