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3 found guilty after county's longest trial

Tue, May 28, 2013 9:28 PM | NYGIA (Administrator)
Albany, NY

The longest trial in Albany County history ended Monday night with the convictions of two gang members and a major drug dealer in a ring that peddled heroin and cocaine on Capital Region streets.

The legal saga, which began Feb. 25 with jury selection before Judge Stephen Herrick, ended in its 13th week around 7:45 p.m. Monday.

After eight days of deliberation, itself a county record, the jury of six men and six women found Guy Anderson, 35, of Cohoes, known as "Sos," a supplier of the cocaine and heroin, guilty of at least 15 drug-dealing related counts, including being a "major trafficker," which alone carries a life sentence.

Bloods street gang member Michael "Jigga" Williams, 27, of Albany, and Jamel "Melly Mel" Pearson, 36, a member of the South End-based Original Gangsta Killas street gang, were both convicted of at least 10 counts each of drug dealing-related charges. Williams was also convicted of conspiracy. As persistent felony offenders, both face possible life terms.

Williams made several lewd comments to an investigator before being escorted from the courtroom undefined and called the cop a "coward" and "devil."

Jurors acquitted Marquese Johnson, 34, who authorities said has been an OGK member, of all drug charges that ended in a verdict. He walked from the courtroom, where a supporter patted his back.

The jury did not reach a verdict on five counts in the case, which relied on hundreds of wiretaps. Johnson could be retried.

The convictions marked the end of a 2012 case brought by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office against 52 defendants, including reputed members of the Bloods and OGK.

Most of the defendants cut plea deals before the case went to trial. In midtrial, the judge dismissed the charges against two of the defendants undefined Anthony Taylor of Albany and Richard Collier of Glens Falls undefined following arguments by their attorneys.

The remaining four defendants learned their fate only after Herrick gave the jury an "Allen charge," a last-ditch effort to get a deadlocked juror to reach a verdict, just before 3 p.m. Monday.

Collier and Taylor's charges were dismissed on May 2.

"We believed all along the proof against Mr. Collier didn't rise to the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Collier's attorney, Holly Trexler, told the Times Union. "It was the right decision."

The length of the trial eclipsed the previous record held by the 2007 insurance fraud trial involving six members of the Houghtaling family in Colonie. Jury selection began in that case on March 5, 2007. The jury reached its verdict on May 17, 2007. After five days of deliberation, jurors acquitted three members of the family completely and found not-guilty verdicts on more than 100 counts. Two defendants were convicted of low-level felonies.

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