A federal jury on Monday convicted Labar “Bro Man” Spann, who prosecutors say has committed ruthless crimes for decades as the leader of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang on Chicago’s West Side.
The jury found Spann guilty of a racketeering plot that included the murders of Maximillion McDaniel, George King, Willie Woods and Latin Kings boss Rudy “Kato” Rangel.
His sentencing hearing was set for March 9-10.
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 amidst the city’s street gangs, but he insisted that he had come to operate as his “own man”.
He also testified that there is “no leader”.
It’s been four years since a massive racketeering indictment linked Spann to six murders, including Rangel’s murder in 2003. Court officials spent years planning what was once supposed to be a three-accused trial.
But Tremayne “Trigga” Thompson and Juhwun Foster finally pleaded guilty in July for their roles in the West Side gang, leaving Spann alone to face the jury.
Spann testified from a wheelchair – he was paralyzed in a shooting in 1999 – and occasionally used glasses to read documents. He told the jury “I’m not a model” and that “you know a font when you see a font, plain and simple”. He claimed to know that an informant was carrying a thread and decided to play games.
“I rock it to sleep all the time,” Spann said.
Prosecutors identified Spann as the leader of the Four Corner Hustlers, which they described as a group of West Side thieves, drug dealers and killers whose crimes date back to the mid-1990s. of 2017 against Spann and others linked it 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.
The pleadings in the case lasted for days. Assistant US Attorney Timothy Storino told jurors Spann committed crimes with “reckless abandon” and “spectacular fashion” in order to bolster his reputation on the West Side of Chicago.
“The point was to be feared in the streets,” Storino said.
The prosecutor also said it was “absurd” to think of Spann as a petty drug dealer or a thief.
“He’s a Four Corner Hustler,” Storino said. “He’s a smart, ruthless and manipulative gang leader. He is a person who kills, he steals, he extorts and he intimidates others. All for the sake of his gang, the Four Corner Hustlers, and he’s been doing it for over two decades.
Defense attorney Steven Shobat said the federal government case was based on unreliable witnesses and he challenged the existence of the Four Corner Hustlers as a sole racketeering business. He told jurors the gang had split into warring factions over the years.
“So what you have in this case are the Hatfields and the McCoys,” Shobat said. “You have the Capulets and the Montagues.