A federal jury Monday convicted Labar “Bro Man” Spann, who prosecutors said committed ruthless crimes for decades as chief of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang on Chicago’s West Side.
The jury convicted Spann of a racketeering conspiracy that included the murders of Maximillion McDaniel, George King, Willie Woods and Latin Kings boss Rudy “Kato” Rangel.
The verdict means Spann now faces a mandatory life sentence. A sentencing hearing has been set for March 9 and 10.
Spann’s trial lasted eight weeks and included testimony about murders dating back to 2000. Spann took the witness stand and told jurors about his life amid the city’s street gangs, but he insisted he came to operate as his “own man.”
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He also testified that there “ain’t no such thing as no chief.”
It has been four years since a sweeping racketeering indictment connected Spann to six murders, including the 2003 killing of Rangel. Court officials spent years planning for what had once been expected to be a three-defendant trial.
Tremayne “Trigga” Thompson and Juhwun Foster wound up pleading guilty in July to their roles in the West Side gang, though, leaving Spann alone to face the jury.
Spann testified from a wheelchair — he was paralyzed in a 1999 shooting — and he at times used glasses to read from documents. He told the jury “I ain’t no dummy,” and that, “you know a police when you see a police, plain and simple.” He claimed to know an informant had been wearing a wire on him and decided to play games.
“I’m rocking him to sleep the whole time,” Spann said.
Prosecutors identified Spann as the leader of the Four Corner Hustlers, which they’ve described as a group of West Side robbers, drug dealers and killers whose crimes date back to the mid-1990s. The 2017 indictment against Spann and others connected him to the murders of Carlos Caldwell in January 2000, McDaniel in July 2000, Levar Smith in August 2000, King and Woods in April 2003, and Rangel in June 2003.
Closing arguments in the case lasted days. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Storino told jurors Spann committed crimes with “reckless abandon” and in “spectacular fashion” in order to bolster his reputation on Chicago’s West Side.
“The point was to be feared on the streets,” Storino said.
The prosecutor also said that it’s “preposterous” to think Spann was a petty drug dealer or thief.
“He is a Four Corner Hustler,” Storino said. “He is a smart, ruthless and manipulative gang leader. He is a person who kills, he robs, he extorts, and he intimidates others. All in furtherance of his gang, the Four Corner Hustlers, and he has done it for over two decades.”
Defense attorney Steven Shobat said the feds’ case was built on unreliable witnesses, and he challenged whether the Four Corner Hustlers exist as a single racketeering enterprise. He told the jurors the gang has broken down into warring factions over the years.
“So what you have in this case is the Hatfields and the McCoys,” Shobat said. “You have the Capulets and the Montagues.”