Monday, February 23, 2015

The Name "Andrew Neal" Brings Up An Interesting "Back In The Day" Court Case With A North Minneapolis Gang Called The "Mickey Cobras" And A Shooting On Logan Avenue North...

MN DOC Mugshot, therefore public domain, 
blog post by John Hoff

IT IS NOT CONFIRMED that police informant "Andrew Neal" from this 2001 Minnesota Supreme Court case is the same as Andrew Neal, pictured above, who is now infamous and was arrested following the shooting of a police officer in North Minneapolis. 

(ADDENDUM, FEBRUARY 28, 2015: Star Tribune subsequently confirmed Neal was a police informant

Neal has not been charged in the officer shooting. There is concern this was a "targeted" shooting. 

To be clear, I am publishing this story mostly because it's about North Minneapolis, plus it's full of names and interesting information, and these facts can't be found easily online because they're buried in this court document...

The name "Andrew Neal" makes it interesting, but even without that name, it's interesting. 

Sections of the court document tell an amazing story about a murder in North Minneapolis and a gang known as the Mickey Cobras. According to Wikipedia, for what it's worth, this is an active gang based in Chicago but I've never heard their name connected to incidents in North Minneapolis. 

I am simply copying and pasting the sections of the court case which describe events which happened, and slicing out the dry legal argument sections. The paragraph with "Andrew Neal" is the very last paragraph. 

Whether this is the same Andrew Neal or not, this old case is pretty interesting:
State of Minnesota v. Keith Henderson, C4-99-1276

January 11, 2001

A jury found appellant Keith Henderson guilty of first-degree murder in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.185(1) (2000), and guilty of a crime committed for the benefit of a gang in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.229, subds. 1 and 2 (2000), in connection with the shooting death of Juwan Gatlin. The district court sentenced Henderson to life in prison on the first-degree murder conviction and imposed a consecutive five-year sentence for conviction of a crime committed for the benefit of a gang. Henderson appeals his convictions and requests a new trial on several grounds. 

First, he argues that the cumulative effect of numerous evidentiary rulings and prosecutorial misconduct violated his constitutional right to a fair trial. Second, Henderson complains that the prosecutor's use of a peremptory challenge to strike a juror was racially motivated and thus violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution pursuant to the rule in Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 86 (1986). Third, he argues that evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his convictions. Finally, he contends that his sentence of life plus a term of years violates Minn. Stat. §§ 609.095 and 609.10 (2000). We affirm Henderson's convictions and sentence.

Juwan Gatlin was shot to death at approximately 11:00 a.m. on August 7, 1998, in an alley near Logan Avenue in Minneapolis. He was shot between 13 and 15 times with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun. The handgun was never recovered.

Gatlin, like Henderson, was a member of a street gang called the Mickey Cobras. Gatlin was murdered because he provided the police with information about the unsolved murder of Anthony Dawson. Because of the information Gatlin provided to police, the two individuals who had been arrested for Dawson's murder were released and the police arrested Arthur Hurd and Mitchell Douglas, also members of the Mickey Cobras. In exchange for the information, Gatlin entered into a plea agreement on an unrelated robbery charge whereby he received a probationary sentence on what otherwise would have been a prison sentence. Both Hurd and Douglas pleaded guilty to the murder of Anthony Dawson.

About six weeks before Gatlin's death, while Hurd was in the Carver County Jail on the Dawson murder charge, he mailed a copy of Gatlin's police statement to Andrew Neal. Attached to the statement was a letter from Hurd indicating that “something needs to be taken care of.” Shortly thereafter Neal gave the statement to Donald Carter. Fellow members of the Mickey Cobras referred to Carter as the “don of dons.” Carter had the authority, within the organizational structure of the gang, to order a “hit” on another Mickey Cobra. According to the internal rules of the Mickey Cobras, providing information to police about a fellow Mickey Cobra is considered “probable cause” for a “hit” in retaliation for betraying the gang.

In August 1998, April Bell (Bell) lived in a house in Minneapolis with her mother Melanie Bell. Bell was a member of the Mickey Cobras. The Bell residence was one block from where Gatlin's body was found, and Bell testified at Henderson's trial.

On the morning of August 7, 1998, at around 11:00 a.m., Bell was home taking a shower when she heard Darryl McKee call her name. McKee was a Mickey Cobra. Bell got out of the shower and went into her room. McKee asked Bell where she hid a duffel bag of guns that he had brought to her house about a week before. Bell said the duffel bag was in her closet. When she asked McKee why he wanted the guns, McKee responded that “[w]e fixin' to smoke [Gatlin].” McKee told Bell that Gatlin was waiting downstairs. McKee then retrieved the duffel bag from the closet. In the bag there were two Uzis and an automatic silver and black handgun. 

While McKee loaded the handgun with bullets from the bag, Donte Evans, another Mickey Cobra, joined McKee in Bell's room. McKee told Evans that Evans and Henderson were to go outside and walk with Gatlin and then McKee would shoot Gatlin. Bell asked McKee why they were going to kill Gatlin, and McKee responded that it was because Gatlin had been “snitching.” Bell did not see Henderson before the shooting.

Approximately five minutes later, McKee and Evans returned to the Bell residence with Henderson; they were very excited. McKee changed into clothes he had previously stored at the Bell house and put the handgun back in the same duffel bag with the two Uzis. Evans removed one of the two shirts he had been wearing. Henderson did not change his clothes. Bell had a doctor's appointment and McKee insisted, over Bell's objection, that the three men would accompany her. The four of them left Bell's house at approximately 11:45 a.m. Bell testified that, while they were in the car, McKee stated that after Gatlin was shot he said “I'm already dead, T.” Bell stated that McKee told her that he responded, “you ain't dead, you just trying to talk yourself out of being dead.”

The group ate lunch and then went to Bell's 1:25 p.m. doctor's appointment, after which McKee directed her to drive by the alley to see if Gatlin's body had been discovered. They could see that the alley was the scene of a homicide investigation. Bell then dropped off Evans and Henderson, and McKee and Bell returned to the Bell residence. About 30 minutes later, McKee and Bell went to Carter's residence. Bell testified that McKee said to Carter words to the effect “[g]uess what we just did.” McKee and Carter then had a private conversation, and Bell left the Carter residence without McKee. Upon returning to her house, Bell moved the bag of guns from her bedroom to a basement closet. McKee returned to the Bell residence later that evening with a copy of Gatlin's statement to the police regarding the Dawson murder. 

McKee told Bell to put the statement in the bag with his clothes. McKee came back the next day to pick up his clothes and told Bell he was going to Chicago. The same day McKee retrieved the clothes, Carter came by the Bell residence and retrieved the two Uzis and the duffel bag from the basement. He left the silver and black automatic handgun behind. Evans fled Minnesota after the murder of Gatlin and was killed in Chicago.

During the investigation of Gatlin's murder, two homicide detectives stopped by Bell's house to question her about the murder. Bell told the detectives that she knew nothing about it. After the police left, Bell told her mother everything she knew about Gatlin's murder.

Later that same day, Henderson went to see Bell and she told him that he had to get the automatic handgun out of her house. In discussing the impending investigation, Henderson told Bell he would say he was with someone else when the murder occurred, and told Bell to tell the detectives that she did not know anything. Henderson told her that he would be back the next day to retrieve the handgun. The following day Henderson returned to the Bell residence. Bell was not at home but Melanie Bell told Henderson that she knew he had come for the gun and that he was to go to the basement to retrieve it. Henderson wanted to come back when Bell was home, but Melanie Bell ordered Henderson to get the gun out of her house immediately. Henderson had difficulty locating the gun and Melanie Bell helped him find it. Melanie Bell watched as Henderson put socks on his hands before touching the gun and then put the gun in his pants.

As a result of the investigation, Evans, McKee, and Henderson were indicted for the murder of Juwan Gatlin. During voir dire, the prosecutor used a peremptory strike to strike an African-American woman from the jury. Henderson's attorney challenged the strike under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986 ). The district court rejected the challenge.

At trial Herbert Williams, a member of the Mickey Cobras, testified to a conversation he had with Evans regarding Evans' participation in the Gatlin murder. According to Williams, Evans told him, “T, we got away with it * * * we got [Gatlin], we got [Gatlin].” Evans described to Williams how he, Henderson, and McKee went to the back of Bell's house, that Henderson pulled out the gun and shot Gatlin and then passed the gun to him (Evans). Evans told Williams that Gatlin, still alive, said, “I'm dead, T, I'm dead.” Evans then told Williams that he shot Gatlin five times in the head.

Dedra Johnson, a former girlfriend of Gatlin and a neighbor of Henderson, testified that Henderson told her, “I did it” in reference to Gatlin's murder, but after seeing the shock on Johnson's face, Henderson told her he was joking. Johnson testified before the grand jury that Henderson told her he shot Gatlin after pushing him in an alley. When Johnson recanted this testimony at trial, the court allowed the prosecution to admit Johnson's grand jury testimony as substantive evidence.

Cherry Bell, April Bell's cousin, testified that in a phone conversation Henderson told her to tell April Bell that she should tell police that Henderson was out of town at the time of the murder.

Paul Givens testified that while in jail with Henderson, Henderson told him that he pushed a guy over in an alley and shot him in the leg, arm, and head. Givens testified that Henderson told him the victim said, “[d]on't shoot me no more. I'm already dead.” Although Givens had been declared incompetent to stand trial due to marginal intellectual capacity and dementia from severe head trauma, the district court found him competent to testify in Henderson's case.

(JNS Blog takes a moment to clarify the person with head trauma was a jailhouse informant, NOT the shooting victim, who died) 

The jury found Henderson guilty of first-degree murder and a crime for the benefit of a gang. Henderson filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. Henderson was sentenced on count one, first-degree murder, to life in prison, and on count two, a crime committed for the benefit of a gang, to five years to be served consecutively.

(These little "fact sections" came later in the case document in association with various legal points being made. They tell a story out of order, but are revealing)

Williams identified other gang members and their ranks within the organization. Williams testified that on or shortly after the day of the murder Williams was driving a car in which Evans was a front-seat passenger. Williams' cousin was riding in the back seat. Evans whispered in Williams' ear: “T, we got away with it.” Nothing else was said on the subject until Williams and Evans were alone together in the hallway of Williams' apartment building. There, Evans elaborated. Williams testified that Evans said: “We got away with it, we got [Gatlin], we got [Gatlin].” 

Williams asked Evans: “What [are] you talking about?” 

Evans responded: “It was like me, Black [Henderson], DMC [Darryl McKee], QC, Rock [Donald Carter], Looney [Marvin Dancy].” Evans continued: “We told [Gatlin] that we was going to have emergency services.” Evans explained to Williams that the group went to Bell's house where, Evans said, McKee suggested that the group break Gatlin's neck, but they decided against it because of the difficulties of getting the body out of the house. The group left Bell's and proceeded to a weed house. 

Williams testified that Evans told him that Henderson shot Gatlin and then handed the gun to Evans. Evans, after he had the gun, spoke to Gatlin, who responded: “I'm dead T, I'm dead.” Evans then shot Gatlin five times in the head. Williams testified that Evans said he saw Gatlin's brains spilling onto the ground after he shot him, and that Evans reported that it made him feel good to shoot and kill Gatlin. Evans told Williams that the reason for killing Gatlin was “[t]hey got a motion of discovery. He was snitching on the brothers.” The gist of Williams' testimony, then, was that Evans told him that the gang had decided to kill Gatlin for snitching, that Evans, Henderson, and several others plotted and executed the murder, and that although Henderson first shot Gatlin, Evans completed the murder, firing five more shots into Gatlin.

Henderson sought to introduce evidence from a forensic scientist that shell casings found at the scene of Gatlin's murder matched shell casings from a “home-invasion robbery” a few days prior to the killing. Henderson argued that this evidence would permit the inference that Gatlin had participated in that home invasion and that there may have been an alternative motive for his murder other than gang retaliation. The district court ruled that the evidence was not relevant to the case, noting that the evidence could suggest that Henderson was involved in both the killing and the home invasion.

Henderson sought to introduce testimony that a police informant, Andrew Neal, was found in possession of a large quantity of cash and a handgun a few days after the Gatlin murder. Neal told police about conversations he and others had with Dedra Johnson about statements Henderson made to her. At the time of the murder Neal was on probation, the terms of which prohibited him from possessing firearms. The day after Gatlin's body was found, a search warrant was issued for Neal's residence. There, the police found a pistol in a bag with Neal's fingerprints on it and $2,000 in cash. Henderson's purpose in seeking to introduce that evidence was to demonstrate that because Neal would have to serve 90 months in jail if his probation was revoked, he had a motive to accuse Henderson in an effort to maintain his probationary status.


Anonymous said...

Guess you dont know every thing JNS. Mickey snakes always been over north. Their guy brick caught the gopher football player killing case.

Anonymous said...

More dead alleged Mickey Cobras mentioned here reference Victor Terrance Gaddy shooting. Think you probably posted on Gaddy.

Anonymous said...

On Crip. Them niggaz was mikky cobras then vice lords now 4ch. Nd some of them did flip Ccrriip. Lmao what a joke.

Sue said...

And now it has been confirmed. Sweet. As the strib mentions, informants often continue to commit crimes, feeling they can "work them off". Sure explains five years down from 11.

Anonymous said...

Johnny, love how you have these stories days before the stsrtribune! Bravo

Anonymous said...

Name "Andrew Neal appears 11 times in this document.

" On or about June 20, 1998, as part of Carver County Jail's routine inmate-mail inspection, Officer Eric Kittleson reviewed a letter written by Arthur Hurd. The letter was directed to fellow Mickey Cobra gang member Andrew Neal, and included a transcript of Gatlin's statement in the Dawson murder and a handwritten note which said: "Check this out. Something must be done about this." There is no substantial dispute that this was a reference to Gatlin. n8"

"Once Minneapolis police learned Hurd's letter had been mailed, they attempted to warn Gatlin of his possibly heightened exposure to danger. Sergeant Carlson, one of the Dawson case investigators, phoned Gatlin on July 8, 1998, to warned him about the letter and its contents, and to let him know officers planned to discuss the letter with Andrew Neal. During the call, Gatlin told Officer Carlson he already knew of the mailing because he had spoken with Andrew Neal. n9 Gatlin further told [*1070] Sergeant Carlson that Hurd had little influence in the gang, and that the letter was not a concern to him. He described Neal as a lifelong friend, and stated that, while Neal was still considering "putting out" the letter, he thought it unlikely. Gatlin said he believed if the letter was put out, fellow Mickey Cobra gang members would try to kill him. Gatlin reminded police he was fearful for his and his family's safety.

McGlennen also called Gatlin to warn him of the immediate danger posed by Hurd's letter, and arranged to fund Gatlin's transportation to Arkansas through his office's Victim/Witness Protection program. On July 10, 1998, Carlson and Lenzen gave Gatlin $350.00 from the Police Chief's Contingency Fund to cover hotel expenses for the coming weekend. Gatlin agreed to spend the weekend in Hudson, Wisconsin, to avoid an encounter with Mickey Cobra gang members.

The following Monday, July 13, 1998, witness advocate Mykelene Cook met with Gatlin and gave him a check for an additional $450.00 to cover travel expenses to Arkansas. She agreed to give him additional funds if needed for his first month's rent and damage deposit. n11 Gatlin then asked for a moving trailer, and Cook agreed to pay this expense. She gave him the money at the local U-Haul store on July 14, 1998. While there, Gatlin asked her to pay for an auto tune-up instead of the trailer rental, and she gave him a check for this purpose. Gatlin cashed all of these relocation checks. Both Cook and the police officers believe he left the state following these arrangements.

C. The Gatlin Murder

Juwan Gatlin was shot between 13 and 15 times with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun in an alley near Logan Avenue in Minneapolis at approximately 11:00 a.m. on August 7, 1998. The gun has never been found. His death occurred a month after he met with Minneapolis police officers to discuss the Hurd letter, and more than three weeks after his meeting with Ms. Cook.

Police investigators determined the murder occurred shortly before the body was found. The investigating officers interviewed Andrew Neal, who admitted receiving the Hurd letter. Neal said he told at least one other Mickey Cobra gang member -- Donald Carter -- about its contents. n12 Police ultimately identified three people as suspects in Mr. Gatlin's murder. One suspect was killed in an unrelated incident in Chicago before he could be arrested; one [*1071] pleaded guilty; and the remaining individual was convicted following a jury trial."

Johnny Northside! said...

Thank you for pointing me to that document. I'll be making use of it right away.