Wake County

Accused Raleigh Bloods leader allegedly told witness: ‘Don’t say nothing.’

In 2015, Demetrice “Respect” Devine learned two fellow members of his gang set had been ordered to testify before a grand jury, a federal witness testified Monday. So from his jail cell, he allegedly told one of them by phone, “You already know how to play it.”

The witness in Devine’s murder and conspiracy trial told jurors the accused gang leader sent a clear message: “Go to court and don’t say nothing.”

The case in U.S. District Court against Devine and Brandon “B-Easy” Mangum entered its fifth day with more testimony from former members of their Bloods-affiliated Black Mob Gangtas. The News & Observer is no longer naming gang-affiliated witnesses in the trial due to threats made against the witnesses or their family members last week.

Witnesses have described Devine as the unrivaled gang leader, whose lower-ranking members paid weekly dues through robberies and drug deals. He is accused of ordering the murder of Southeast Raleigh teen Adarius Fowler in 2008, while Mangum’s indictment said he agreed to shoot rival gang member Rodriguez “Re-Up” Burrell in 2009 because he refused to pay dues.

‘You are my eyes’

In testimony Monday, the first witness said Devine said “You are my eyes,” meaning he would keep daily tabs on BMG dealings even while behind bars. He used the name “Frank” on the phone and spoke in coded expressions: “in the kitchen” meant making drugs; “in slow motion” stood for earning a small amount of money.

The witness referred to the BMG “family” using air quotes, which led the prosecutor to ask for an explanation.

“Because it wasn’t really a family,” the witness said. “He was just using me to keep everything going for himself.”

A second witness Monday said he ran with several Raleigh gangs starting in 2006 before eventually joining the BMG Bloods in roughly 2015. The witness sold marijuana and had prostitutes working in the Raleigh Inn on New Bern Avenue.

While in the visitation room at the Wake County jail, the witness said, another inmate described being picked to shoot Rodriguez and declining. Mangum and “Scooch,” he said, went instead.

On cross-examination, Mangum’s lawyers pointed out that their client was incarcerated in 2014 and 2015 — the period when the second witness described meeting him at the Raleigh Inn. The witness said repeatedly he could not remember dates.

Testimony continues Tuesday.

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Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.