A self-styled music producer and longtime member of the Gangster Disciples street gang was ordered held without bail Sunday after prosecutors alleged he murdered three members of his own gang in the early 2000s.
Prosecutors said Rickey “Suave” Royal, 42, had long been a suspect in the 2000 murder of Richard McCarthy, the 2001 murder of Joseph Ross, and the 2003 murder of Leonard Perry.
But it wasn’t until recently, when new witnesses came forward, that they had enough evidence to charge Royal, of the 5000 block of South Champlain, with three counts of first-degree murder.
Royal appeared before Judge Peggy Chiampas in a Cook County courtroom Sunday while his family stood in support in the visitors’ area toward the back. When she ruled that he could not be released on bail, Chiampas noted that Royal faced mandatory life in prison if convicted.
Assistant State’s Attorney Karen Kerbis, who specializes in gang crime prosecutions, said Royal was a member of a splinter faction of the Gangster Disciples called the “Crazy Crew,” which sold drugs out of the former Cabrini-Green housing project.
Royal, who pleaded guilty at 15 to participating in a 1987 gang rape of a woman, was ambitious and ruthless when he was released from prison, prosecutors said.
In September 2001, Royal was at a party near the high-rises when he confronted one of his drug dealers, Richard McCarthy, who owed him money, Kerbis said. During the confrontation, Royal shot McCarthy in the legs, Kerbis said. McCarthy died from his wounds.
In July 2002, Royal shot Joseph Ross, a 33-year-old gang member, who was leaving Cook County jail after a meeting with an incarcerated Ganger Disciple leader, prosecutors said.
A tail car followed Ross and another person as they drove north from the jail. All the while, they were communicating Ross’ location to Royal, who was waiting with another shooter at a bus stop near California and Cermak, prosecutors.
When the car Ross was in approached, Royal opened fire, killing Ross, prosecutors said. The motive for killing Ross apparently was a street-tax on drugs that gang leaders were trying to force Royal to pay, despite his protest, prosecutors said.
The third murder Royal was charged with occurred in March 2003. Leonard Perry, formerly a close confidant of Royal, was killed execution-style with a gunshot to the back of the head, prosecutors said.
Perry, 33, purportedly helped Royal kill Ross. But he was killed because Royal had begun to suspect him of being a police informant, prosecutors said. Perry, who had been incarcerated at Cook County Jail for a period, was moved out of general population a one point — a move that other gang members in jail noted.
Once he was out, Royal confronted Perry about his suspicions, prosecutors said. Perry confirmed that he had, in fact, been working as an informant, but promised never to rat on Royal.
“Rickey Royal apparently did not believe that assurance,” Kerbis said.
Perry’s body was found in the 7600 block of South Perry with at least one .38 caliber bullet in his skull, Kerbis said.
Both Royal and his family were ordered by the judge to have no contact with any of the witnesses who may come forward to testify against Royal. They declined to comment as they left court.