Alleged pimp accused of ordering killings is jailed, again

After eluding a bench warrant for nearly a year, an alleged pimp who was accused of ordering a teenage prostitute to kill three men is back in Fulton County Jail.

Michael Berry, 32, has been jailed since June 5 on drug charges unrelated to the DeKalb County killings. Public defender Ken Driggs, an attorney for the prostitute, Falicia Blakely, is offering Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard his help to get Berry “as much time in prison as can possibly by imposed,” according to a June 23 letter Driggs wrote Howard.

Blakely was 18 when she shot and killed three men - Ray Goodwin, Claudell “Doc” Christmas and Lemetrice “Big Mechi” Twitty. (The crime was the subject of a two-part CL story published in March 2004.) To avoid the death penalty, Blakely pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Her co-defendant, Ameshia Ervin, received a life sentence and will be eligible for parole in 2024.

At Blakely’s January 2004 sentencing hearing, her lawyers described her as an abused girl who followed Berry’s commands. “The Michael Berry you are currently prosecuting is a pimp who controlled these young girls,” Driggs wrote to Howard. “The murders ... were all orchestrated ... by Mr. Berry.”

After the hearing, DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Tom Clegg said he might be interested in pursuing murder charges against Berry. But Driggs’ letter states that Clegg “recognized there were proof problems.”

In February 2004, Atlanta police arrested Berry in an undercover drug sting. He posted a $15,000 bond and failed to appear at a subsequent court hearing. A year later, Berry was arrested in DeKalb on yet another set of drug charges. He posted bond on the DeKalb charges and was transferred to Fulton.

- Mara Shalhoup

To read more about the murders, visit atlanta.creativeloafing.com/2004-03-11/cover_news.html.??

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