Ex-Aryan Gang Member Says Gotti Sought Hit
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A former member of the notorious Aryan Brotherhood prison gang testified Thursday that gang kingpin Barry ``The Baron″ Mills once ordered a killing at the request of John Gotti after another inmate jumped the mob boss in a prison yard.
Glen West, a member of the white supremacist gang from 1981 to 2003, said Gotti later told him he offered $100,000 to the group if they would kill Walter Johnson.
Another gang member sent a message to Mills, who was in a different prison, requesting permission to carry out the hit, West said.
``He’d sent it to Barry, and Barry sent word back that we were to get Johnson killed at all costs,″ West said. The killing was never carried out, prosecutors have said.
Mills is among four alleged leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood now on trial on federal racketeering charges. The four are accused in a web of conspiracies and killings in the gang’s efforts to sell drugs and conduct other criminal activities in prisons nationwide.
The trial is the first of several making up one of the largest death penalty cases in U.S. history. It stems from the 2002 arrests of 40 alleged Aryan Brotherhood members following a six-year investigation aimed at dismantling the gang’s leadership. Nineteen defendants struck plea bargains, and one has died.
Two of the men now on trial _ Mills and T.D. ``The Hulk″ Bingham _ could face the death penalty if convicted. All have pleaded not guilty.
West testified earlier that he was housed with Mills in a federal prison in Marion, Ill., in the early 1980s and recalled a conversation in which Mills told him to ``prepare for a lockdown″ because he was going to have William ``Puppet″ McKinney kill gang associate Gregory Keefer.
Keefer was murdered Sept. 23, 1983, for giving gang knives to the Mexican Mafia, prosecutors said. McKinney was killed by an Aryan Brotherhood associate nine years later.
West said he had another conversation with Mills in which the reputed gang leader described killing inmate John Marzloff in 1979.
West, now in the witness protection program, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, but that will be dismissed in exchange for his testimony, prosecutors said. He is awaiting sentencing for another conspiracy charge from 1980.
Mills, 57, is already serving two life terms for Marzloff’s 1979 murder. In the current trial, he could face a death sentence for allegedly orchestrating the 1997 killings of two black inmates.
Bingham, 58, could face the death penalty for the same crimes. He is serving time on robbery and drug charges.
Also on trial are Edgar ``The Snail″ Hevle, 54, and Christopher Overton Gibson, 46. Both could face life in prison.