Chicago Sun-Times

Four Cor­ner Hustlers boss asks judge to dis­miss 2003 mur­der charge in Latin Kings leader’s killing

- BY SAM CHARLES, STAFF RE­PORTER scharles@sun­times.com | @samjcharle­s

Lawyers for a West Side gang boss are ask­ing a fed­eral judge to throw out a mur­der charge, ar­gu­ing Labar “Bro Man” Spann was ac­quit­ted of the same charge in state court more than a decade ago.

The mur­der in ques­tion is that of Rudy “Kato” Ran­gel Jr., who was a leader of the Latin Kings when he was fa­tally shot in­side a bar­ber­shop in June 2003.

Months af­ter the shoot­ing, Spann and three other men — Mar­tise Nun­nery, Mar­cus Ware and Don­nell Sim­mons — were charged by the Cook County state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice with hatch­ing a plan to rob and kill Ran­gel, who trav­eled with a body­guard and of­ten sported hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars’ worth of flashy jew­elry.

Nun­nery, Ware and Sim­mons, the shooter, were found guilty, though Spann was ac­quit­ted in 2008.

Spann, 41, was one of 11 mem­bers of the Four Cor­ner Hustlers in­dicted in a sweep­ing rack­e­teer­ing con­spir­acy in 2017. Most of his co-de­fen­dants have pleaded guilty or agreed to co­op­er­ate with pros­e­cu­tors; Spann and two oth­ers — Tre­mayne Thomp­son and Juh­wun Foster — are slated to face trial in Septem­ber 2021.

Ran­gel’s mur­der was one of six killings fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors ini­tially linked to the gang. Last year, pros­e­cu­tors ac­cused the gang of tak­ing part in three more mur­ders in 2012.

Spann’s lawyers now con­tend try­ing him in fed­eral court for Ran­gel’s mur­der amounts to dou­ble jeop­ardy be­cause fed­eral au­thor­i­ties were heav­ily in­volved in the ini­tial mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as well as the ear­lier de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute Spann in state court.

“It is plain that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the state of Illi­nois worked hand in glove and switched be­tween fed­eral and state prose­cu­tions so fre­quently and strate­gi­cally that they were op­er­at­ing in essence as a sin­gle prose­cu­tor pur­su­ing de­fen­dant Labar Spann,” his at­tor­neys wrote in a re­cent mo­tion.

“Such over­whelm­ing re­dun­dan­cies prove a clas­sic case of the type of ha­rass­ment of de­fen­dant that the dou­ble jeop­ardy clause was de­signed to con­demn and pro­scribe.”

No new ev­i­dence was de­vel­oped in the Ran­gel in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors will call the same wit­nesses that state pros­e­cu­tors re­lied upon, Spann’s lawyers say.

Both a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the U.S. At­tor­ney’s of­fice and Ran­gel’s mother de­clined to com­ment. It’s un­clear when U.S. Dis­trict Judge Thomas Durkin will rule on the mo­tion.

Af­ter Spann was in­dicted in 2017, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors weighed whether pur­sue the death penalty against him, Foster and Thomp­son. Last April, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bill Barr in­structed pros­e­cu­tors in the case to not go af­ter the death penalty.

Matthew McQuaid, one of Spann’s lawyers, said the mo­tion to dis­miss the Ran­gel mur­der was de­layed be­cause the prospect of de­fend­ing a death penalty case took pri­or­ity.

“Un­til the time that the Jus­tice De­part­ment ap­proves the pur­suit of the death penalty, ev­ery­one’s fo­cus is on that,” McQuaid said.

Spann’s lawyers have also filed a mo­tion to sup­press wire­tap ev­i­dence in the case that was col­lected by Xavier El­i­zondo, a for­mer CPD sergeant who was re­cently sen­tenced to seven years in prison af­ter he was con­victed of sev­eral cor­rup­tion charges.

Be­tween late 2012 and early 2013, in­ves­ti­ga­tors ap­plied for and were granted five wire­taps on phones used by Spann, court records show. El­i­zondo filed af­fi­davits in four of those wire­tap ap­pli­ca­tions, though pros­e­cu­tors have said El­i­zondo wasn’t en­gaged in any il­le­gal con­duct at the time.

One of Spann’s co-de­fen­dants, Ron­trell Turnipseed, tried a sim­i­lar tac­tic in 2018, and U.S. Dis­trict Judge Thomas Durkin ruled the wire­taps were still ad­mis­si­ble as ev­i­dence.

 ??  ?? Labar “Bro Man” Spann
Labar “Bro Man” Spann
 ??  ?? Rudy “Kato” Ran­gel Jr.
Rudy “Kato” Ran­gel Jr.

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