Updated: November 8, 2012 at 12:00 am
A homeless man hacked to death and dragged into a wooded ravine south of downtown Colorado Springs was marked for death for “snitching” to police, a witness testified at a murder trial Thursday.
“Snitches wind up in ditches,” Anthony Loffredo told a jury in taking the stand against Roger Julius “Brooklyn” Glover, who is accused of arranging the August 2011 slaying of reputed police tipster William Mickle.
Mickle, 20, died of more than 20 chop wounds to the head, face and neck inflicted by a hatchet or machete, authorities say.
Although Glover, 36, isn’t accused of wielding the blade, prosecutors pursuing a first-degree murder conviction say Glover ordered another man to kill Mickle and used personal threats and boasts about New York City gang ties to burnish a fearsome reputation on the streets.
A co-defendant, 20-year-old Jordan Rowland, is awaiting a March trial, also on suspicion of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole. Authorities say Rowland, also homeless, had Mickle’s severed finger in his pocket when he was arrested shortly after the body was discovered.
According to Loffredo — an inmate at the Jefferson County jail — Mickle was targeted by Glover after causing the older man’s friend to be “locked up” for domestic violence.
Loffredo testified that Glover asked him to kill Mickle, but told jurors he refused, citing a friendship with Mickle forged in soup kitchens, flop houses and the public parks frequented by the city’s homeless.
“He was a part of my family,” said Loffredo, who grew tearful during testimony and sometimes muttered to himself while working through his answers. “When you live on the streets, all you got is homeless people for family.”
Glover’s defense attorney, Cynthia McKedy, argued during opening statements that her client is the victim of “street stories” shaped by drug use and unstable members of the city’s homeless community.
McKedy questioned Loffredo about his criminal history, which includes a recent conviction for robbery; his claimed gang ties, and why he denied knowing anything about a “green light” when first questioned by police.
During a later interrogation by police, Loffredo also implicated an ex-fiancee in the killing and made nonsensical statements about something called “the Beehive Sector,” he acknowledged under questioning.
Loffredo, who stood by his allegations against Glover, acknowledged that he had done drugs before the interview, saying his friend’s death left him rattled and fearful of reprisals from Glover and others.
But he said a friend persuaded him to “do the right thing” and tell the truth, no matter the consequences.
“This would be considered snitching, what I’m doing right now — testifying,” he said.
A man walking his two dogs discovered Mickle’s body Aug. 17, 2011, under a pile of brush in a ravine behind the Sienna Place Apartments on Lenmar Drive. The wooded area frequented by the city’s homeless is near Interstate 25 and South Nevada Avenue. Drag marks suggest the body was body was dumped, police said.
Prosecutors say the murder plot unfolded in Colorado Springs’ “invisible world” – one populated by the homeless, the mentally ill and the drug-addicted.
The trial is on break Friday and Monday, and testimony will resume Tuesday morning.