Brooklyn prosecutors wrap up trial of accused gang member who plotted murder
Closing arguments began at Brooklyn’s federal court on Tuesday in the trial of an alleged Brooklyn gang member and drug dealer accused of planning the murder of a suspected federal informant.
Ronald Williams faced the jury in a blue suit and tie, looking past the prosecutors’ table piled with pounds of marijuana, guns and other evidence. Williams is on trial for murder for hire conspiracy and other violent and drug related charges.
When he got the call from a partner on April 30, 2013 to kill a suspected federal informant for $5,000, prosecutors said the East Flatbush man sprang to action.
“You heard a man offer another man, the defendant, $5,000 to kill a federal informant,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Hiral Mehta told jurors. “He started planning the murder immediately.”
In an investigation of the “90s Crew” street gang, federal agents tapped Williams and his partners’ phones and physically surveilled them. When Williams’ partner, Leon Campbell allegedly sold marijuana to the informant, the feds chased after him.
When he lost them driving, Campbell quickly phoned Williams and proposed the murder four days later, Mehta said.
Mehta showed jurors transcripts of phone conversations of Williams saying he organized a hitman and then requested more money.
The man was not killed but upon arrest and seizure of Williams’ home on Aug. 6, 2013, the feds found three guns, which the defense said did not have Williams’ DNA, and ammunition. After his arrest, Williams confessed to the murder deal and to selling small quantities of marijuana, prosecutors said.
“Apparently the defendant thinks this is a small quantity,” Mehta said as he pulled several pounds of marijuana from a “DEA” printed cardboard box.
Defense attorney Susan Kellman called the government’s evidence, “smoke and mirrors.”
She argued that just because Williams said he would organize the murder, it didn’t mean he would actually do it, as she alleged, he didn’t take Campbell seriously.
And while one cooperating witness testified he was dealing 40 to 50 pounds of marijuana every two weeks with Williams, Kellman called him a “master manipulator.”
“This is a man who wouldn’t know the truth if he bumped into it,” she said of the witness. “Everything this man has done has been a lie.”
Williams has two previous convictions for weapon possession in 2009 and attempted assault in 2010.
Closing arguments were expected to continue Tuesday afternoon in Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall’s courtroom and jury deliberations could begin on Wednesday.
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