Today, reputed gang leader Brian Hicks stands trial in Denver for the murder of a witness named Kalonniann Clark. Prosecutors say Hicks ordered the killing while he was in jail on drug charges in 2006 in order to stop Clark from testifying that he'd tried to shoot her a year earlier. They say Hicks hired two men to kill her: Shun Birch and Willie Clark -- who was convicted last year of murdering Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams in a drive-by on New Year's Day 2007.
Prosecutors say Willie Clark (no relation to Kalonniann Clark) worked for Hicks, allegedly the leader of the Elite Eight, a prolific subset of the Tre Tre Crips gang. Hicks reportedly first hired Clark to run a crack house.
Hicks and his associates in the Tre Tre Crips played a role in the investigation of Williams's murder and the eventual arrest and conviction of Willie Clark . And according to plea deals they cut with the federal government, those same associates must testify at the trials of the three men accused of killing Kalonniann Clark.
Of the three, Hicks's trial is first. Opening statements began this morning.
For more on how Hicks and Willie Clark are intertwined, check out Westword's story, "In the Hunt for Darrent Williams Killer, the Cops Went on the Offensive Early."
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Here's an excerpt:
A fourteen-page affidavit prepared... in late June 2007 lays out the federal case against Clark. It says that Clark was a member of the Tre Tre Crips and of Hicks's violent drug crew, which was involved in large-scale crack trafficking, drive-by shootings and burglaries, and whose members are linked to eleven unsolved murders -- not to mention the 2006 shooting of 28-year-old witness Kalonniann Clark.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Darrent Williams murder trial, day thirteen: Willie Clark found guilty."