In the hunt for Darrent Williams's killer, the cops went on the offensive early

Page 3 of 3

Investigators used the federal charges as a "vice grip" to squeeze information out of people who knew about the murder. "Because they had the federal hammer, that made people talk," Fuller says.

But cooperation didn't happen overnight. "It takes a long time to bring something like this to fruition when there's the 'stop snitching' code of silence," Fuller says. "That's a very real obstacle we face every day."

Some people refused to talk to investigators about Williams's murder. Others — including Edwards, Harris, Abram and Garcia — did. And all of them, with perhaps the exception of Abram, pointed directly at Clark.

Harris provided the most crucial information (see related story, page 18); in return, he received a plea deal in which federal prosecutors will request that a judge sentence him to five years in prison instead of the thirty years to life he previously faced. His deal also stipulates that he can withdraw his guilty plea and take his chances in front of a judge instead.

Edwards also fingered Clark. He said that Clark called him on January 2, 2007, and asked if he could get him a new gun because he "got rid of" the one he had: a .40-caliber Taurus handgun. Clark also mentioned the shooting. "He asked me if I seen what happened to the Bronco player on the news," Edwards said on the stand at Clark's trial. "I said, 'That was fucked up.' And he said, 'The fool shouldn't have been talking shit.'"

Edwards said he later confronted Clark. "The first thing I asked him, I said, 'Why did you do it?' He said the guy pulled a gun on him." Edwards didn't believe it. "I told him no famous football player with famous people around him was going to pull a gun in front of everybody. He kept saying, 'I didn't mean to do it. I didn't mean to do it.'"

Edwards told Clark to turn himself in. But Clark, jittery, pacing and chain-smoking, responded by saying, "I can't do all day, I can't do life," Edwards said.

Edwards also got a plea deal; he could end up serving only ten years.

Abram didn't implicate Clark directly. Rather, he provided an alibi for Harris, whom defense attorneys accused of also shooting into Williams's limo that night. (Physical evidence proves there were at least two shooters.) Abram said at Clark's trial that he was also at the Safari club that night, where Clark, Harris, Williams and several other Broncos — including Brandon Marshall — were hanging out. As he was walking to his SUV after let-out, Abram said, he saw Harris on Lincoln Street. He said he took Harris to meet his sisters at a gas station and then took him back to his car to drive home.

For his cooperation, Abram could end up serving just seven years.

Garcia was more instrumental in building the case against Clark and could serve as little as three years in prison for her cooperation in the case.

None of Clark's former associates have been sentenced yet — and despite their cooperation, there's no guarantee that a federal judge will accept lesser sentences. Nor have they fulfilled all of their duties; per their plea agreements, Harris, Edwards and Garcia are scheduled to testify in the Kalonniann Clark murder case as well, Podolak says.

But one thing's for sure: While the feds were already tracking the Elite Eight as part of the Rolling 30s investigation, their involvement in the murder of a sports celebrity upped the ante. "Resources were moved because this was an important murder to the community," Podolak says. Hicks was always a target, they say, but there's some question as to whether some of the smaller players, like Garcia or Abram, would have been scooped up in the sting if it weren't for "Little Lett Loose."

"Clark's responsible for over a dozen of his friends and associates going to prison," Morrissey says. "That's what happens in an organized-crime investigation. They're being punished for crimes they committed, but they owe it to Willie Clark."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

Latest Stories