A reputed street gang leader was arraigned this week on conspiracy charges in connection with allegedly intimidating and tampering with a witness in his pending attempted murder case, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
Four other individuals allegedly affiliated with the street gang have also been charged and arraigned in the same scheme, according to the DA.
“Prospective witnesses must be protected from outside interference intended to prevent them from testifying in the grand jury or at trial,” Brown said. “This office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”
Kamal Joseph – the alleged leader of the “Every Body Killer” gang, Angel Alvarez, Nadine Massillon, Christopher Baptise, and Brandon Ward have been variously charged in an 18-count indictment, according to the DA.
“These five individuals attempted to manipulate the legal process, but instead they found out there is no place in the criminal justice system for those who intimidate witnesses to a crime,” Bratton said. “Thanks to the investigators and prosecutors involved with this case, these five individuals will be brought to justice.”
Joseph has been charged with allegedly pointing a handgun, and firing several rounds, on Oct. 18, 2013 at an individual who was supposed to testify against him in an upcoming murder trial, the DA said.
According to the criminal complaint, Joseph told Baptiste during a phone conversation on Oct. 20, 2013, that the witness should not appear before the grand jury and that Baptiste and Ward should talk to the individual. It is alleged that in a subsequent phone conversation on Oct. 22, 2013, Joseph told an unidentified male to make sure that people were at the courthouse as soon as it opened. The unidentified male state that they would be online to watch everything and that he would tell Baptiste to call a “pow wow.”
The following day, on Oct. 23, 2013, the DA said Ward, Baptiste, Alvarez, and a number of other individuals allegedly gathered outside the Queens Criminal Courthouse in an “effort to intimidate the witness from testifying before the grand jury by instilling a fear in the witness that they would cause physical harm to the witness or another person.”