CHICAGO — Prosecutors on Tuesday alleged the broad daylight killing of Chicago drill rapper FBG Duck in the ritzy Oak Street retail corridor was just one salvo in a deadly yearslong conflict between two warring gang factions that often bragged about their illicit activities in song lyrics and social media insults.
The August 2020 homicide was described in detail as opening statements were delivered Tuesday in the federal racketeering trial of six men accused of carrying out the slaying.
“They wanted to be respected and they wanted to be feared, on the streets and online, on social media,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Caitlin Walgamuth said of the defendants during prosecutors’ opening statement. “This social media and rap music taunting acted like gasoline on a fire.”
FBG Duck — born Carlton Weekly, a member of the STL faction of Gangster Disciples — was hit with 16 bullets as he shopped on East Oak Street. His killing came just weeks after he released a song titled “Dead B——,” a diss track that mocked the deaths of several affiliates of the O-Block gang, which the six men on trial allegedly are connected with.
Weekly’s mother was among those seated in the courtroom for opening statements.
The men charged in the case are all purportedly members or affiliates of the faction of Black Disciples based in the Parkway Garden housing complex at 64th Street and King Drive.
Charged with murder in furtherance of racketeering are: Charles Liggins, 32; Kenneth Roberson, 29; Christopher Thomas, 24; Marcus Smart, 24; Tacarlos Offerd, 32; and Ralph Turpin, 34. Each defendant faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Two other people were also wounded in the shooting, and five of the seven counts in the superseding indictment stem from their nonfatal injuries.
Walgamuth told jurors that Weekly was shopping for his son’s birthday present at a boutique on Oak Street when he was seen by Turpin. Turpin knew that O-Block wanted Weekly dead, Walgamuth said. After spotting Weekly, Turpin got in contact with his alleged co-conspirators, who then drove to Oak Street and opened fire, the prosecutor said.
Police surveillance footage captured five of the defendants leaving Parkway Gardens in two cars and driving to the Gold Coast, Walgamuth added. No witnesses identified any of the suspects at the scene of the shooting, but one suspect’s cellphone data showed him traveling to Oak Street from Parkway Gardens just before the shooting occurred.
Defense attorneys told the anonymously empaneled jurors that “O-Block” is not a criminal enterprise, but, rather, a term used by locals to refer to the Parkway Gardens housing complex at 64th Street and King Drive, the birthplace of “drill,” a dark, droning, hyperviolent subgenre of hip-hop.
Gregory Mitchell, who represents Liggins, told jurors that drill was pioneered by Chief Keef — born Keith Cozart — in the early 2010s. Chief Keef’s success, Mitchell said, was an inspiration to his friends and fellow Parkway Gardens residents.
“This is how you make it,” Mitchell said. “You create a following, you become popular. You create an image.”
Eventually, Mitchell added, “people begin to imagine things about you.”
Prosecutors and defense attorneys invoked several of the other most influential rap artists to come out of Chicago in recent decades, including Lil Durk, Kanye West and King Von — who, prosecutors allege, placed a $100,000 bounty on Weekly’s head before he was killed. King Von, a leader of O-Block whose real name was Dayvon Bennett, was shot and killed in Atlanta in November 2020.
John Somerville, an attorney for Offerd, highlighted the narrative gaps in the prosecution’s opening statement and the lack of eyewitnesses in the case.
“The government gave their opening statement, and the evidence is going to show they do not know who did what,” Somerville said. “The government can’t tell you who did anything.”
The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning and is expected to last about two months.
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