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Attorneys wrap up in trial of man accused of killing informant

Justice SystemLaws and LegislationHomicideDrug TraffickingFBI

The case of a Baltimore man accused of killing an FBI informant in 2009 as retaliation for "snitching" is expected to go to the jury for deliberation Thursday morning.

Antonio "Mack" Hall, 30, is charged in U.S. District Court with the execution-style killing of Westport neighbor Kareem Kelly Guest in front of a half-dozen witnesses, along with related crimes, including conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and weapons violations.

Guest, 29, was gunned down on the night of Sept. 20, 2009, as he walked the three blocks from his mother's home to his daughter's. He was shot twice in the spine, and after he fell was shot four times in the head.

"No, Mack, no," were his last words, prosecutors said.

"It was a cold-blooded, premeditated murder," Assistant U.S. Attorney Clinton J. Fuchs told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday, methodically reviewing the evidence. "It happened because Kareem Guest broke the law of the street. He told, [he] talked to police, he snitched."

Guest was arrested on drug charges in 2008 and gave an interview to federal investigators, naming more than a dozen local people as killers and drug dealers. He said Hall liked to "bang the gun."

A year later, a defense attorney improperly leaked a transcript of the conversation to a client, and copies were soon distributed throughout Westport, a small, crime-ridden section in the southern part of the city. The disclosure put a target on Guest's back, prosecutors said during the trial, which began early last week.

The government presented about 30 witnesses to make its case, including seven people who supposedly saw what happened the night Guest was killed. All of them initially denied that Hall had been there, but several changed their stories to implicate Hall later on.

"They saw a federal witness murdered in cold blood right in front of them," Fuchs said. "They saw what Mack does to people who talk. That's why they protected him."

But Hall's defense attorneys claim those witnesses were framing the defendant, telling the government what it wants to hear in exchange for immunity and leniency in their own criminal cases — and, for some, free rent.

Authorities have relocated several witnesses for their protection, including Hall's former best friend — an admitted drug dealer who says he helped Hall commit a murder — and a one-time lover, who was convicted of perjury for initially lying to a grand jury about the case.

Those people "are simply not worthy of your belief," Timothy Sullivan, one of Hall's court-appointed defense lawyers, told jurors Wednesday.

"The government hasn't made its case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said. "The volume of lies in this case, the volume of inconsistencies is overwhelming."

He questioned the credibility of witnesses and pointed to their varying recollections of Guest's last words and the timelines associated with particular events.

"People were all over the map on what they said," Sullivan argued.

Hall could receive a maximum of life in prison if convicted of the retaliation killing.

tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

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