Updated: November 6, 2012 at 12:00 am
Is he a puppet master, or a patsy?
An El Paso County jury on Tuesday heard opposing views of Roger Julius “Brooklyn” Glover, a Colorado Springs man accused of ordering the grisly hacking death of a homeless man-turned-police informant.
The victim, William Mickle, was brutally slain with a hatchet or machete and left in a wooded ravine south of downtown on Aug. 16, 2011, authorities say.
Glover, 36, is one of two men charged with first-degree murder in the death. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.
The other man, 20-year-old Jordan Rowland, is awaiting trial. Rowland had Mickle’s severed finger in his pocket when he was arrested a day after the body was found, Colorado Springs police testified at prior court hearings.
Mickle, who was homeless, went missing shortly after telling friends in the city’s homeless community that he was being targeted by a Colorado Springs gang leader who suspected him of “snitching” to police, The Gazette previously reported. The extent of his involvement with police isn’t clear, though a source told the newspaper Mickle informally supplied tips.
During opening statements, prosecutor Beth Reed didn’t identify a definitive motive in the killing, though she said Mickle was known for having a “big mouth.”
“On the streets, having a big mouth and not being street smart can put you in touch with a lot of people,” Reed said.
She said several witnesses identified Glover as the “puppet master,” including a 17-year-old girl who told police that Glover ordered Rowland, also homeless, to kill Mickle.
“In no uncertain terms, Brooklyn tells Jordan Rowland, ‘You don’t kill Will, I’m gonna kill you,’” Reed said.
Defense attorney Cynthia McKedy countered that the teenage witness has a reason to lie: She was Rowland’s girlfriend, and McKedy said the girl later told police she would do anything to protect “her baby,” meaning Rowland.
Two other witnesses expected to testify against Glover have since admitted they were on drugs during their police interviews, and one said he has no memory of doing an interview, McKedy added.
“There is no direct evidence linking this man to the murder of William Mickle,” she told jurors, saying the case against her client revolves around “street stories” from a population where “talk is cheap.”
Reed conceded that players in the story of Mickle’s death may battle with drug addiction, mental illness and other challenges.
She urged jurors to consider the age difference between Glover and the two younger men and emphasized the violence of Mickle’s death.
Mickle, whose mother lives in Colorado Springs, took to the streets partly in rebellion after going off his medication for mental issues, Reed said. At the time of his death, he was “looking for a place to belong.”
Testimony continues at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.