‘Boom Bat’ trial set to begin arguments on charges for ordering death of witness

Opening statements are set for Thursday morning in the fourth murder trial of a Latin Kings gang leader accused of ordering the murder of a 23-year-old woman to ensure her silence after she witnessed the abduction of a fellow gang member.

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Two weeks after attorneys began the process of selecting, whittling down and peppering a pool of more than 100 prequalified prospective jurors with questions about their thoughts on gangs and whether the defendant’s gang ties would impact their ability to serve fairly and impartially, they came away Wednesday with a panel of 16 jurors for the trial of Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete, who is charged with ordering the Aug. 30, 2004 murder of 23-year-old Jeri Lynn Dotson. Read more

Nigel Dawson and William Brown found guilty of Tracy Crews murder

A camouflage ski mask with traces of William Brown’s DNA.

Jailhouse informants who said co-defendant Nigel Joseph Dawson confessed he fatally shot Tracy Crews, a Bloods gang member and convicted drug dealer, in the neck with a 9 mm luger inside the kitchen of his Whittaker Avenue residence on Sept. 12, 2008.

And Crews’ dying declaration, as told by his widow, Sheena Robinson-Crews, that Brown, known as “Paperboy,” was responsible for the murder of his close friend.

Those were the state’s strongest proofs in the Crews’ murder trial.

“Everything else,” Steven Lember, the attorney for Brown, surmised during summations, “was reasonable doubt.”

But on late Friday afternoon, after two days of deliberation a jury of 12 convicted Brown and Dawson on eight counts of felony murder, murder, robbery and weapons offenses, not quite how defense attorneys boldly predicted at the outset of an action-packed trial, defined by salacious allegations of a setup by Crews’ best man and former roommate, Brown, over $40,000 in drug proceeds. Read more

Attorneys give closing arguments in trial for murder of Tracy Crews

Nigel Dawson and William Brown are accused of the 2008 murder of Tracy Crews. (Submitted photos)

Nigel Dawson and William Brown are accused of the 2008 murder of Tracy Crews. (Submitted photos)

William “Paperboy” Brown cared about one thing and one thing only. And it led him to betray his best friend, Tracy Crews, in the worst way, the prosecutor, Al Garcia, said Tuesday, summing up the drama-packed Crews murder trial.

Brown’s nickname, Garcia said during closing arguments, is “Paperboy. Not Tracyboy. Paperboy, because he’s all about the paper. And that’s what they were trying to get when they shot Tracy Crews.”

Read more

Inmate testifies about widow’s alleged role in murder of Tracy Crews

A Pennsylvania inmate testified Wednesday that Sheena Robinson-Crews, the widow of a Trenton gang member, confessed setting up her husband’s Sept. 12, 2008 murder.

Maria Cappelli appeared by video conference from state prison in Muncy, Pa., and said she could no longer keep the alleged confession a secret so she reported it to corrections officials about two years after Robinson-Crews reportedly confided in her sometime in 2009 while they were housed at the Bucks County jail. Read more

Trenton murder victim’s widow tells court about his final moments

“Who did this to you? Who did this to you? Who did this to you?”

Sheena Robinson-Crews held her husband close, frantically asking him for the identity of the person who shot him inside the couple’s Whittaker Avenue residence on Sept. 12, 2008.

A dying Tracy Crews spit up a mouthful of blood and mumbled the name of his close friend, Robinson-Crews testified Tuesday.

“Pa-per-boy.” Read more

Judge rules to allow dying statement as evidence in Tracy Crews murder case

A judge ruled Monday a jury in the Tracy Crews murder trial can hear evidence of a dying declaration Crews reportedly made moments after he was shot in the neck in September 2008.

The decision paves the way for the state to recall Sheena Robinson-Crews, the victim’s widow, to the witness stand. She testified before the jury last week but was instructed not to discuss her husband’s final words after another judge previously ruled it was inadmissible, based on Robinson-Crews’ evolving recollection of her husband’s dying declaration. Read more

Attorneys in Tracy Crews murder trial expected to implicate the victim’s wife as clients’ defense

Defense attorneys in the Tracy Crews murder trial are expected to raise a third-party guilt defense, implicating the wife of a Trenton gangster in his September 2008 murder.

The defense is based on expected witness testimony of Pennsylvania inmate Maria Cappelli.

Cappelli, an inmate at Muncy state prison, told a corrections officer Sheena Robinson-Crews, the victim’s widow, admitted setting up her husband’s murder. Read more

Prosecutors want to bring murder victim’s dying statement into evidence at trial

Assistant Prosecutor Al Garcia wants a judge to reconsider whether a jury can hear evidence of a dying declaration Trenton gang member Tracy Crews reportedly made moments after he was shot in the neck with a 9 mm luger in September 2008.

While Sheena Robinson-Crews cradled her dying husband in her arms on a city street, she reportedly asked her husband about the identity of the assailant. Read more

Jailhouse informant becomes star witness in trial for the murder of Tracy Crews

While incarcerated in a county jail awaiting trial for murder, Nigel Joseph Dawson admitted firing the fatal shot that killed Tracy Crews during a botched home invasion on Sept. 12, 2008, a confidential jailhouse informant testified Thursday.

Isaiah Franklin, the state’s star witness and one of four jailhouse informants on the witness list, took the stand and told the jury Dawson confessed he was at Crews home to rob the convicted drug dealer of $40,000.

When Crews recognized his voice, Dawson panicked and shot him in the neck, Franklin said. But before Dawson and William Brown allegedly fled the Whittaker Avenue residence, they heard Crews cry out. Read more

Murder victim’s widow cross examined, questioned on role in husband’s murder

There was a moment in court Wednesday when it almost seemed liked Sheena Robinson-Crews, the widow of a Trenton gang member, was on trial. Her testimony was marked by startling admissions and terse denials.

Yes, Robinson-Crews said, she refused to cooperate with the authorities, even misled them, for several hours after her husband, Tracy Crews, was shot in the neck Sept. 12, 2008 inside their Whittaker Avenue residence.

But, no, Robinson-Crews said, she didn’t orchestrate her husband’s murder, despite suspicions from some of Crews’ family members that she was somehow involved and an implication from the defense that she tampered with a police investigation by deleting messages off one of her husband’s phones. Read more