Clarence Broady, who at one time robbed drug dealers, was sentenced to 31 years in prison Thursday, Jan. 3, for being a hit man for the Craig Petties drug organization.
Broady was sentenced on eight counts including racketeering conspiracy, murder for hire, kidnapping and drug conspiracy. He pleaded guilty to the charges in the largest drug conspiracy case ever brought in Memphis Federal Court. In addition to a multi-state drug operation with direct ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico, the organization headquartered in the Riverview section of South Memphis was the most violent ever brought into Memphis Federal Court.
Of the six murders for hire alleged in the case, Broady admitted and testified that he killed three of the victims and participated in the abduction of a fourth.
Broady testified at the trial last year of Martin Lewis and Clinton Lewis, the only two indicted members of the Petties organization who did not plead guilty. They were both convicted of all but one count of the charges they faced and are awaiting sentencing.
Federal Court Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays weighed Broady’s cooperation with Broady’s willing participation in multiple murders including one of a member of the organization who was cooperating with federal drug agents as they investigated the organization.
“This is not a crime of passion and it’s not one crime,” Mays said as he added points to a sentencing matrix because the murder of Mario Stewart involved the obstruction of justice and then added points to another part of the matrix because Broady cooperated and came forward in a case in which other cooperating witnesses were killed.
“I’m all right with it,” said Lucy Turner, the mother of Marcus Turner, told Assistant U.S. Attorney David Pritchard after the hearing.
Earlier, in court with Broady standing a few feet away unshackled, wearing tan prison scrubs with his head bowed, she told Mays, “There was an opportunity to turn my son loose, but he didn’t. … I just ask that justice be done.”
Broady testified last year about his role in the abduction of Marcus Turner, who was held at several locations around Memphis for days and tortured for information about $4 million worth of cocaine stolen from one of the organization’s stash houses.
He was shot and his body dumped on the Mississippi side of the state line.
Broady testified that he refused to kill Turner and believed Turner was telling the truth when he said he had no information about the theft. Others testified that Petties ordered Turner’s murder from exile in Mexico saying that he too had come to believe Turner had no information but that at that point he knew too much.
Clinton Lewis was convicted of the counts generally involving the 2006 murder of Turner. But the jury acquitted him on one count specifically involving the murder after police testified they got the murder weapon in an exchange at Martin Luther King-Riverside Park in which an informant dropped the gun on a park road and drove away in sight of the police without police ever stopping him.
The man also testified that the gun he turned over was not Lewis’s gun but belonged to another member of the organization who was close to Clinton Lewis.
“I don’t know who killed Marcus Turner,” Mays said Thursday. “But I know a lot of people are responsible for his death.”
The other murders Broady was involved in included the double murder of Latrell Small and Kalonji Griffin. Small was ordered killed because he had dressed as a police officer and robbed and shot and wounded Vacha Vaughn, a member of the organization.
Broady knew Small because he said both had robbed other drug dealers in the past. Broady called Small to plan what Broady said would be the robbery of a drug dealer in a Hickory Hill apartment complex. Small brought along Griffin.
Broady met the two men on the apartment complex parking lot, got in the back seat of their car and shot each of them in the head twice from the back seat. The jury saw crime scene photos of them and the other murder victims.
Broady also testified last year about waiting in the garage of Mario Stewart, who had recorded conversations for federal investigators with another hit man about the murder of another Petties associate, and shooting Stewart. The jury heard Stewart’s 9-1-1 call for help as he was dying.