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Hobos Gang Leaders' Trial Peers Into Chicago Street Violence

Image: Hobos Gang Leaders' Trial Peers Into Chicago Street Violence

This undated photo in a court filing provided by the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago shows Paris Poe's back tattoo that reads "The Earth Is Our Turf" and "Hobo." Poe is one of six defendants on trial for racketeering and other charges. (United States Attorney's office in Chicago via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 10:55 AM

The trial of Hobos street gang leaders has put Chicago street violence back in headlines.

Six gang leaders are on trial for a case that could provide “a rare look inside the kind of criminal activity fueling gun violence in the nation’s third-largest city,” The Associated Press reported.

During the trial Wednesday, federal prosecutor Patrick Otlewski showed the court photos of killing scenes and held up assault rifles, adding to the dramatic effect of opening statements.

One of those gruesome photos depicted a “bullet-riddled body,” belonging to South Side drug dealer Wilbert Moore, who had been doubling as a police informant for months, according to the Chicago Tribune. One day, in January of 2006, Moore stepped out of a Bronzeville neighborhood barbershop, crossing paths with the Hobos.

According to prosecutors, alleged Hobo lieutenants Arnold Council and Paris Poe waited for Moore outside the barbershop and opened fire on him in broad daylight, chasing him into a vacant lot. Reports state that Moore was shot at least 10 times, the Chicago Tribune noted.

“For nearly a decade, the Hobos’ ruthlessness and violence struck fear in the hearts of people living on the South Side of Chicago,” Otlewski told jurors in his opening statement. “They arrogantly believed that they were above the law.”

Otlewski told jurors that the leaders of the Hobos gang “murdered, maimed and tortured their way into controlling lucrative drug markets” on the South Side of Chicago.

The trial, which could take up to three months, according to the AP, involves a specific charge of racketeering for the six defendants.

Otlewski told jurors, “You will look into the eyes of murderers…every day” after referring to them as “an all-star team of the worst of the worst,” not “a group of misguided youth.”

Beau Brindley, the attorney representing the alleged Hobos boss Gregory Chester, told jurors that his client had a hard time surviving in what he referred to as the “cauldron where these men grew up without opportunities,” The Guardian reported.

“This case is about that place,” Brindley said, acknowledging that Chester sold drugs to acquaintances, but said he had nothing to do with running a gang.

According to The Guardian, prosecutors are hoping to prove that the defendants in question were involved in criminal conspiracy that led to at least nine murders. If convicted, each defendant will face up to life in prison. They’ve each pleaded not guilty.

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The trial of Hobos street gang leaders has put Chicago street violence back in headlines.
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Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 10:55 AM
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