Page 7 of 10
Witnesses say Alex was wearing headphones, and his killer snuck up out of the shadows. The first shot hit him in the back of the head. Detectives told Clark that her nephew had been shot 15 times, including five bullets fired at such close range that his face was blown off.
"I walked down the sidewalk and saw white bone fragments," recalls Clark, now 47. "After homicide left, the fire department came and they washed down the blood. You could see the brains going down the sidewalk."
Federal prosecutors have charged Wright in the slaying of Alex Clark.
What haunted Cheri Clark was that Alex's older brother was friendly with the 51st Street Crips and had a baby boy with Moody's cousin. Family ties weren't enough to break the hatred between the gangs.
After the family buried Alex in early July, they returned to Cheri Clark's home in the 7200 block of the Paseo. As family and friends visited in the front yard, Clark noticed a Jeep approaching. As it got closer, she saw a young boy struggling inside.
"The little boy dived out the window, right into my yard. I'm like, 'Hold up, hold up, little boy.' He just ran up there talking about, 'They're going to kill me! They're going to kill me! They're going to kill me!'"
She watched the Jeep circle back after the boy escaped. "They were 51st Street," Clark says. "They were Crips. They were Moody's boys."
The one who spoke for them, Clark says, was Anthony "Fat Tone" Watkins.
"He pointed to the little boy and said, 'Hey, the dude sold our shit and we're trying to handle our business with him.' He said, 'Man don't you know Moody? Give him up to us for Moody. Give us up the little boy out of respect for Moody.'"
Clark says her son Tommy showed Watkins the scars on his arm from a shootout and told Watkins to come get the kid himself. As a fight broke out, Clark called police. Gangsters from both sides jumped on the young boy, but he squirmed away.
By the time Alex Clark was killed, Wright was losing his hold on the 51st Street Crips. Long and Williams were in jail waiting to be sentenced for Michael Birks' killing, and soon undercover detectives would make a buy from the gang's drug runner, Jamal Norris; like Wright, Norris awaits a federal trial on the drug conspiracy charges.
The violence calmed for a few months, until October 3, 2001, when Martice Stewart was shot dead at 39th Street and Brooklyn Avenue. Police alleged that Wright and at least two other men in a van pulled up and opened fire on Stewart and Damion Cook, who were standing on a porch.
A week after Stewart's death, Wright was sent to prison for two felonies police had witnessed months before.
The second week of October, Wright appeared in court before Circuit Judge David Shinn to plead guilty to assaulting Officer Liebsch during the police chase, and to charges filed after police saw Wright speeding, chased him and observed Wright and Norris throwing drugs from their car. Shinn gave Wright a 120-day callback sentence, meaning that if Wright behaved during his first four months in prison, he could return home to serve a three-year sentence under house arrest.
"That's a standard disposition on that type of a case," says criminal defense lawyer Willis Toney, who has represented Wright on about a dozen felony cases. "He had no prior felony record at the time."