VOL. 127 | NO. 38 | Friday, February 24, 2012
Questions Raised About Plea Deals
By Bill Dries
Shortly after Clarence Broady shot Latrell Small and Kalonji Griffin to death in a car at a Hickory Hill apartment complex in 2004, Demetrius Fields got a new tattoo.
It shows two stick men, one firing a gun and the other shot and on the ground with no head.
Fields had helped plan the murders for the Petties drug organization.
He also dropped Broady off near Mario Stewart’s house on Callaway Hills Drive the night in 2005 that Broady killed Stewart, also for the organization.
Broady waited several hours in Stewart’s garage near Hacks Cross Road and Shelby Drive East until Stewart came there to get in his car. Stewart drove to a nearby park to wait for Broady and fell asleep until he was awakened by Broady keying his Nextel phone after he shot Stewart.
“You kill people, don’t you?” defense attorney Marty McAfee asked near the end of the day Fields spent on the witness stand Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Memphis Federal Court.
“Not from my hands,” Fields replied.
“But you sure are a big helper,” McAfee said.
“You could say that,” Fields answered.
Fields testified for the prosecution in the drug conspiracy, racketeering and murder-for-hire trial of Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis under terms of a plea deal in which Fields will not be charged with any of the murders he admits he played a role in.
McAfee and defense attorney Anne Tipton repeatedly brought up the plea agreement, which includes a 20-year cap on any prison sentence, as they cross-examined Fields.
It would be up to Mays to approve the deal when Fields is sentenced later.
More than any other witness in the trial so far, Fields implicated Clinton Lewis in the 2006 murder of Marcus Turner. Turner was killed in Olive Branch after he was kidnapped, beaten and tortured over three days at several different locations in Shelby County.
Fields testified Wednesday that Turner was turned over to Clinton Lewis after being tortured for several days by Broady and Carlos Whitelow, one-time codefendants in the case who have since pleaded guilty to other charges. Fields also said in phone conversations he had with drug kingpin Craig Petties before and after the transfer, Petties said Turner should be killed and that he had been killed.
Fields testified that Turner was kidnapped because the drug organization was searching for 200 kilograms of missing cocaine. They suspected Bobby Craft, someone to whom they supplied drugs, had stolen it and thought Turner might know where Craft was.
For part of the time, Turner was tied up, blindfolded and naked in a van that was parked in the backyard of a house on Mendenhall Road in East Memphis. Fields testified that he saw Turner in the van and that Turner was later moved to a house farther east, off Riverdale Road.
Broady and Whitelow began to have their doubts that he knew anything about Craft. They refused to kill Turner, according to Fields, when Petties concluded that Turner may not know anything about the missing cocaine but that he “knew too much by then.”
Tipton portrayed Fields as a killer so cold that he didn’t remember the years of the murders and even “took a nap while you were waiting” during Stewart’s murder.
“I fell asleep. I didn’t try to,” Fields countered. “It was just business,” he said later of Stewart’s murder.
Broady had teamed with Small in some past robberies, which was how he lured Small to the Hickory Hill apartment complex where Small died.
The specific incident that triggered the hit was a robbery of Vacha Vaughn, Fields’ original supplier in the organization, who was shot and critically wounded in 2004 when a car with men dressed like police officers pulled him over.
Broady, according to Fields, called Small to set up a robbery of someone in the apartment complex. Small brought along his longtime friend, Kalonji Griffin, and Broady joined them in their car in a covered parking space. Broady, in the back seat, shot them each twice in the back of the head.
One of the first Memphis Police officers to arrive at the complex testified earlier this week that when he found Griffin and Small in the front seat of the car, each was still clutching a handgun.
Griffin was not a target, Fields said.
“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.