The Sacramento Bee from Sacramento, California on April 3, 1992 · 9
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The Sacramento Bee from Sacramento, California · 9

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Sacramento, California
Issue Date:
Friday, April 3, 1992
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9
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T A10 The Sacramento Bee Final Friday April 3 1992 Special to The Bee :Tenants pay a fine to their own board if they step on the grass in Kenilworth-Parkside rehabilitated through the initiative of residents like Kimi Gray Tenants take over rescue :By Muriel Dobbin ' Bee Washington Bureau ! WASHINGTON — Kimi Gray shook her fist at a police patrol car "Slow down!" she shouted and shook her head "We've got children coming home from school" explained the woman who enforces "Keep off the grass" signs in what used to be one of the most 1 crime-ridden housing projects in :Washington Kenilworth-Parkside a 464-apart'ment low-income housing complex sits two miles from Capitol Hill It has been home to Gray for 25 years and she remembers what happened tn it in the 1970s "It turned into hell" she said : Gray a single mother of five turned Continued from page Al the FBI simply never stopped pestering Wilson's family Until his escape Wilson's only 'crime was the 1979 execution style slaying of his father-in-law Bill Thornburgh a prominent Inyo County rancher Wilson's marriage to Thornburgh's daughter had lasted six months but Wilson blamed his father-in-law for the breakup On the date the divorce became 'final Wilson abducted Thornburgh whose decomposed body was found in the desert six months later Convicted of the murder Wilson received a term of 25 years to life :Wilson escaped from Folsom Prison by hiding inside a delivery truck and then using metal snips to cut his way out He got in the truck when inmates created a diversion crashing inmate-operated forklifts in the prison warehouse When the holidays came around that year Wilson got a little sentimental and called one of his former jailers to wish him a merry Christmas He also gave him a list of people he would like to pass on holiday salutations to and he told the guard that he would never allow himself to be taken alive the FBI said iWilson did not say where he was but the FBI was able to re4instruct some of his travels Wilson went from Folsom to Oklahoma where he got a driver's license undér an assumed name then on to Texas where he befriended :Fitch a widow with a young son ' They moved to a community outiide Orlando Fla where he built his own house Wilson who gave his occupation as construction worker when booked in London was a jack-of-all-trades adept in plumbing roofing house painting and carpentry In February 1990 he was getting ready to sell his house in Florida and build another when be read in a television guide that be would be featured on the next "America's Most Wanted" ' Agent Barcklay said he was in Washington DC for the show and remembered that the first call they got was from a Wilson neighbor who recognized the fugitive Trouble was the FBI went to 1 Florida amf found that Wilson into a one-woman crusade 10 years ago She rallied other tenants and fought for residential management of the complex with operating costs coming from rental income KenilworthParkside Residential Management Corp became one of five national models of how a community could rehabilitate itself working with local police to develop its own security and devising employment training programs and a strict set of tenant rules Kenilworth's tenant management board levies fines — added to monthly rent — from $10 to $25 for offenses like walking on the grass sitting on fences hanging clothes out windows loitering in hallways or throwing trash Those who don't want to live by the rules are evicted "This was a blighted area where po Caught: Fugitive taunted authorities with calls One fugitive from Folsom still loose Bee Metro Staff With the arrest of Stephen Leslie Wilson there is one remaining fugitive from Folsom Prison Glen Stewart Godwin escaped through a storm drain at the prison June 5 1987 The inmate was serving a sentence of 20 years to life for murder In 1989 authorities discovered Godwin was serving a seven-year prison term on drug charges in Mexico but he later escaped from the Mexican lockup took off the night before the show aired Barcklay said that Wilson was profiled four times on "America's Most Wanted" and two times on "Unsolved Mysteries" Through the years the FBI kept the heat on Wilson's parents in Southern California his brother in Texas and Fitch in Orlando At times Wilson complained to news media and the FBI about the pesky FBI interviews and the surveillance "He kept telling us his family did not know where he was" Barcklay said "If we had backed off we would have been playing into his hands" The FBI figured the break would come either through Wilson's brother or Fitch On Thursday the FBI began following Fitch as she went from Orlando to Newark NJ and then London When she stepped off the plane in London she was followed by agents of the FBI Scotland Yard and the Surrey Constabulary Even with that large contingent tailing her she did not detect the surveillance when she went to a West London hostel When she reappeared five minutes later with Wilson he was arrested after a short scuffle when he tried to flee authorities said Mark Pearson spokesman for Scotland Yard said that Wilson would be appearing today in Bay Street Magistrates Court in central London on an extradition warrant alleging he escaped from Ilawful custody "" Salvatore Gravano lice cars were attacked shots fired at passing cars and drug dealers ruled the complex" said Robert Woodson Jr assistant director of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise which helped Gray in her drive to clean up her neighborhood Over the past decade he said Kenilworth's rent collections are up 77 percent vacancies are down 70 percent and about 150 residents are no longer dependent on welfare Kimi Gray now travels the country advising other communities how to dig themselves out of what have become killing fields Robert Woodson Sr who founded the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise 11 years ago advocates tenant ownership of public housing as a solution that provides not only oppor The star prosecution witness convinced jurors that he committed murder at John Gofti's direction Gotti: Quick jury verdict surprised defense Continued from page Al public official and tax fraud When it became clear that LoCascio was going down on all but the gambling count his son Salvatore said loudly enough for the jury to hear "Where's the evidence? Didn't you listen to the case? It's a fix" At the prosecution table lead prosecutor John Gleeson — the subject of much Gotti vilification throughout the dramatic seven-week trial — remained impassive Gleeson was co-prosecutor when Gotti won a racketeering case in the same courthouse in 1987 At a press conference with New York FBI chief Fox and Brooklyn US Attorney Andrew Maloney he said "At that moment we said the jury had spoken We say it again today" Fox said that as a result of Thursday's verdicts the government has quickened organized crime's decline He added: "If Gotti was acquitted it would have given a shot in the arm to organized crime throughout the US and he would have achieved the status that not even Al Capone had achieved" Gotti and the defense attorneys were stunned when the jurors sent word out at 1 pm that they had reached a verdict "We were anticipating they would take more time based on the issues we presented that they appeared to understand during our summations" said Gotti's crestfallen attorney Albert Krieger who plans an appeal After US District Judge I Leo Glasser polled the jurors they were excused Gotti dressed in a charcoal double-breasted suit white-on-white shirt and floral tie rose and shook hands with his attorneys He kissed Krieger's wife Irene and waved and smiled at supporters — who for the first time did not include his brother Peter Peter Gotti after learning the jury had reached a verdict so quickly left the courthouse "That told him he didn't have to be here" said Jack D'Amico a Gambino official who stayed for the verdict "John was classy to the end" D'Amico added "When you're born round you don't come out square" °Co tunity but independence He contends that economic development is the logical follow-up to the civil rights drive of the 1960s and the only answer for communities sunk in poverty "These communities have to solve their own problems" Robert Woodson Jr said "because nobody else will It's the Kimi Grays who can do something because they live with it The trouble is there aren't enough Kimi Grays to cope with the demand" Woodson emphasized the impact of the departure of the black middle class from inner-city neighborhoods "It hit me when I moved into a Washington neighborhood that used to be a cheap decent place to live and the first thing I saw was a body lying in the street" he recalled Associated Press John Gotti shown during his January 1990 trial told a lawyer after his conviction Thursday that "the fight's not over" For LoCascio the No 3 man in the once all-powerful Gambino family the jury's verdict was contradictory Under the racketeering count it found him guilty of helping Gotti run a Queens gambling operation However when the same crime was charged as separate count the jury found him not guilty Lawyers met with Gotti and LoCascio in the basement holding area before confronting reporters They said Gotti tried to lift their spirits Krieger said Gotti feels he was "deprived of putting on a defense" and was "grossly prejudiced by the fact the jury was sequestered" The identities of Gotti's jurors were kept secret from everyone including the judge and the parties in the trial with the only record of their names kept in a vault in the court clerk's office He said Gotti was most concerned that the jury had found Gotti's ex-underboss star witness Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano credible Gravano who admitted to 19 murders on the stand said he committed 10 at Gotti's direction and provided a chilling narrative of the killings that boosted Gotti from capo to mob boss Hours of tapes including six hours of conversations recorded during the FBI's secret bugging of the apartment above Gotti's Little Italy headquarters were almost as damaging as Gravano's testimony Bee news services contributed to this re port Crime: DC murder toll tops 100 for 3 months of '92 Continued from page Al jobs" replied Artis who said he earned $300000 in five months as a drug dealer on Washington DC streets "They want to use their head" Glenn tried another tack: "Would most of the young fellows want to go out for athletics?" "You have a lot of guys who love sports but some of the kids are afraid to leave the neighborhood to participate in sports" said Marc Wilkins 22 He and Artis work with Washington children as DC Police Youth Task Force volunteers "You could be down on the next block and you might have a confrontation and get killed" Artis and Wilkins told Glenn they knew 100 people who had been killed Over the past five years more than 2100 people have been slain in the nation's capital which for the third consecutive year has been designated the nation's murder capital Homicides in Washington for the first three months of this year have already topped 100 There has been a flurry of legislative proposals to bring back the death penalty in the District of Columbia initiated by lawmakers shaken by the recent slaying of a 25-year-old Senate aide the shooting of the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Representv tives and the robbery and thwarted abduction of a senator's wife — all within blocks of the Capitol 6 Hopelessness Robert Mallett Washington's city adminis- is the trator dismissed prisons problem and the death penalty as effective solutions "This is Talk to these a war about values and it's happening all over the kids about country" he said "We have made families in our inner life and they cities dysfunctional partly because our society gives say all they such conflicting signals about the importance of can hope for money and we have a pop culture that stresses quick iS to get gratification and glamorization of violence through it' "We are as racially divid— Harvard sociology ed now as we were 30 years professor Alvin ago and there is no ques- Poussaint tion in my mind that lack of presidential leadership is a major reason" The problem reaches far beyond Washington The crisis of urban crime has reached the point where the only consensus among those who live with it and those who seek solutions to it is that political leadership has failed Many argue that the only hope is to rebuild from within the neighborhoods where families have disintegrated like the areas they live in "Hopelessness is the problem" said Harvard sociology professor Alvin Poussaint "Talk to these kids about life and they say all they can hope for is to get through it American inner cities and those who live in them have been abandoned" Street arguments that used to be settled with fists now end with flying bullets An alarming number of those who carry guns are children The number of Americans younger than 18 who die by the gun has risen from 1059 a year to 2162 (in 1990) over the past two decades Metal detector searches in some inner-city schools where uniformed police patrol the halls turn up sawed-off shotguns pistols knives box cutters and semiautomatic weapons Until one 8-year-old shot another 8-year-old in a Chicago school this month George Sams administrator of the city's safe schools program was congratulating himself that nobody had been gunned down in school for 21 months Chicago has a $70 million budget for school safety that involves having uniformed police on duty in certain high schools and uniformed security officers in elementary schools reinforced by surprise visits from metal detector teams - More than 2000 guns have been confiscated this year in New York schools Fifty-six shooting incidents have been recorded in and around the city's schools this year including the recent gunning down of two students at a Brooklyn school shortly before Mayor David Dinkins was due to give a speech there The suspected shooter is 15 years old "Don't compare this society to Dodge City This makes the old frontier towns look civilized" said Joseph McNamara San Jose's former police chief who denounced the lack of "rational political discussion" about the crime crisis "If tough rhetoric or declaring war on crime or drugs did any good we wouldn't have these prob- lems" McNamara said "America has become the most crime-ridden society in the world and we are almost complacent about it The inner city is ignored because it often doesn't vote" Community leaders police and sociologists pinpoint significant landmarks in the history of urban warfare Growth of a "welfare culture" in the 1960s Flight of the black middle class from the inner city to the suburbs to escape drug crime Collapse of the structure of families left behind "What you've got are situations where Morn smokes crack and Dad doesn't exist All the kids have is peer pressure They've never known a loving relationship with anyone and they get their socializing from gangs" said Adele Harrels of the Urban Institute in Washington "Welfare made things worse Welfare played the part of a pimp for people in the ghetto" said Leon Watkins director of the Los Angeles Family Hotline an inner-city volunteer agency "With welfare people didn't have to try to excel any more or take care of their families" Watkins said "The men made babies and split because they couldn't make as much money as the women could get from welfare That began a vicious cycle of family separation" One advocate of community control is the Rev Lee Earl of the 12th Street Baptist Church in Detroit who responded to an invasion of drug crime by haying the church purchase more than 30 neighborhood crack houses that were then leased or sold to law-abiding residents "We have to reach a point in this country where politicians are held accountable for what they don't do" said Earl who is critical of white and black politicians alike — including the Rev Jesse Jackson "What programs does he have for us?" he asked "Can he say 'Here is a community that was brought back to life and drugs were forced out and this was hlyv it was done'? 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