SANTA ANA, Calif. — Jury deliberations began Friday in a case against four suspected leaders of an Aryan Brotherhood prison gang accused of plotting to kill rivals and fellow members to control drug dealing and other criminal enterprises behind bars.
Barry “The Baron” Mills, Tyler “The Hulk” Bingham, Edgar “The Snail” Hevle and Christopher Overton Gibson are named in a federal indictment detailing 32 murders and attempted murders involving members of the white supremacist gang over three decades.
Of the 40 alleged gang members originally charged, as many as 16 could face the death penalty in several trials that would comprise one of the biggest capital punishment cases in U.S. history.
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The jury met for about two hours before being dismissed for the day.
In closing arguments this week, prosecutors said the Aryan Brotherhood maintained its notorious reputation by killing those who violated its rules.
Defense attorneys countered that prosecutors built their case on the testimony of killers, gang members and prison informants.
Mills and Bingham are each charged with four counts of murder, including the deaths of two black gang members during a 1997 riot at a prison in Lewisburg, Pa. Both are accused of inciting the riot through secret messages to Aryan Brotherhood members.
They could receive the death penalty if convicted.
Gibson is charged with two counts of murder in connection with the riot.
Hevle faces three counts of murder, including one for the death of a fellow gang member, who was strangled in August 1989 at Lompoc federal prison.
All four men were also indicted on racketeering charges involving various murder and attempted murders.