Closing arguments begin in racketeering trial of purported West Side gang boss linked to six murders

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CHICAGO — Closing arguments began Monday in the federal racketeering trial of a purported West Side gang boss who’s accused of ordering the murders of six men between 2000 and 2003.

Federal prosecutors charged Labar “Bro Man” Spann and 10 others in September 2017.

Spann — who was shot in 1999 and paralyzed from the waist down — was linked to the half dozen murders, as well as other acts of violence and intimidation, that were allegedly carried out to benefit the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, which has operated across much of the West Side for 50 years.

Labar Spann | Chicago police photo

“He is not a petty drug dealer, he is not a petty thief. That is preposterous,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Storino said Monday morning during the prosecution’s closing arguments at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

“He is a Four Corner Hustler. He is a smart, ruthless and manipulative gang leader,” Storino added. “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.”

Spann has been a target for prosecution for more than 20 years. He has twice been charged and acquitted of murder in state court: once in the death of a city subcontractor who was killed after a gang shootout, and once more in the murder of a high-ranking member of the Latin Kings, Rudy “Kato” Rangel.

Testifying in his defense last week, Spann freely admitted to taking part in “licks” — slang for robberies — but forcefully denied any involvement with the murders and said he renounced his association with the Four Corner Hustlers in 1998.

The racketeering trial comes as Spann is awaiting sentencing in another federal gun case that he was charged in six years ago.

Closing arguments in the racketeering case are expected to resume Tuesday.

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