News

Bloody Brothers

On July 29, after five months of testimony and two weeks of deliberation, a California jury finally reached a verdict in one of the most complex capital cases ever brought to trial. Aryan Brotherhood leaders Tyler "The Hulk" Bingham (pictured) and Barry "The Baron" Mills were convicted of racketeering and murder, while two other high-ranking members of the nation's most notorious prison gang were nailed on related conspiracy charges.

It's the culmination of a sprawling federal investigation of the AB that stretched over decades and encompassed 17 murders and more than three dozen defendants at federal and state prisons across the country -- an indication of the far-flung power formerly wielded by a few aging, bald cons with walrus moustaches. Mills and Bingham could face the death penalty in the case. Yet to prove its central thesis, that the pair were able to conduct AB business and order murders of black gang members, white defectors and others while locked up in solitary at the federal supermax prison in Florence, the feds had to rely on an unsavory cast of informants, many of whom polished their testimony during elaborate "debriefing" sessions in a top-secret unit at the supermax. For more on how the case was built, and how it almost came apart, see May 5's "Bringing Down the Brotherhood." -- Alan Prendergast

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts