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Conn. Fed Jury Votes to Put Drug Dealer to Death for Triple Murder


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For the first time since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, a federal jury in Connecticut has voted to impose the death penalty.

A federal jury in New Haven, Conn. voted Wednesday to unanimously condemn drug dealer Azibo Aquart, 30, of Bridgeport, Conn. to death for murdering three Bridgeport residents on Aug. 24, 2005, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He had been convicted of conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering and committing the racketeering murders of Johnson, Reid and Williams. He was also convicted of committing three counts of drug-related murder and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

Though the jury voted to put him death, an execution isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

Since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in 1988, 68 federal defendants have been sentenced to death and three  have actually been executed, according to Death Penalty Information Center.

Wednesday’s decision prompted a comment from U.S. Attorney David B. Fein, who said: “We thank the jury for their diligent and attentive service over both the guilt and sentencing phases of this case.”

In May, after a month long trial, the jury convicted Aquart of murdering Tina Johnson, 43, James Reid, 40, and Basil Williams, 54.

Authorities said evidence during the trial showed that Aquart also known as “Azibo Smith,” “Azibo Siwatu Jahi Smith,” “D,” “Dreddy,” and “Jumbo,” was the founder and leader of a drug trafficking group that primarily sold crack cocaine out of an apartment building located in Bridgeport.

Authorities said Aquart and associates used violence to maintain control over the group’s drug distribution activities at the Charles Street Apartments.

In the summer of 2005, Aquart and his associates got into a drug dispute with Tina Johnson, a resident of 215 Charles Street, who sometimes sold smaller quantities of crack cocaine without Aquart’s approval, authorities said.

On the morning of Aug. 24, 2005, Aquart and others entered Johnson’s apartment, bound Johnson, her boyfriend James Reid and friend Basil Williams with duct tape, and brutally beat the victims to death with baseball bats.

Aquart and others then drilled the front door of the apartment shut from the inside.


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