NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The federal trial of Telly Hankton and three other men started with a dramatic 911 call detailing a 2008 shootout on Claiborne Avenue that left Darnell Stewart dead.
Hankton, his cousins Andre Hankton and Kevin Jackson, and alleged hitman Walter Porter face federal racketeering, drug, murder and gun charges.
The 911 call detailed the murder of Stewart when he was hit by a car and then shot at point-blank range.
Stewart is one of five victims outlined in a 23-count indictment against the four men. In opening statements, prosecutors said they would present evidence that beginning in the late 1990s, Telly Hankton was the ringleader of a crime organization that included family members.
"You will be swamped by the depravity of this organization," a prosecutor told jurors. "You'll hear how Telly Hankton turned on his friends or one-time associates."
Prosecutors told jurors they would hear from some witnesses that may be in "prison-orange," but that they should take their testimony to heart. Defense attorneys used the fact that many witnesses may already be incarcerated for other crimes to diminish their credibility.
"Witnesses who are trying to work on the back of Telly Hankton to make a deal with the government to get out of jail," said Majeeda Snead, Telly Hankton's attorney. "They're going to say what it takes."
Telly Hankton is already convicted of the Stewart murder on state charges. The trial is expected to last three weeks.