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First Four Corner Hustlers trial scuttled by guilty plea; reputed gang boss, others face trial next year

Less than a week before the start of his trial, Stevon ‘Tito’ Sims joined four others in pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy. Three others — including reputed gang boss Labar ‘Bro Man’ Spann — face trial in September 2020.

Stevon Sims.
Stevon Sims.
Chicago police

The last member of the Four Corner Hustlers set to stand trial in a racketeering case next week pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Stevon “Tito” Sims’ guilty plea scuttled what had once been expected to be a monthslong trial.

It means federal prosecutors will soon turn their attention to a separate trial, set for September 2020, of purported Four Corner Hustlers chief Labar “Bro Man” Spann and alleged gang members Tremayne Thompson and Juhwun Foster. All three could face the death penalty if convicted.

Sims admitted his role Wednesday in a racketeering conspiracy, joining Keith Chatman, Rontrell Turnipseed, Marchello Devine and Deandre Spann, all who pleaded guilty to the same charge in recent weeks. Sims is to be sentenced Oct. 16. Chatman, Turnipseed, Devine and Deandre Spann face sentencing in November.

Sims admitted guilt in a series of drug crimes in 2009, 2011 and 2013, telling a federal judge in Chicago Wednesday, “I sold drugs, sir.” At the judge’s prompting, he said he did so for the Four Corner Hustlers.

His attorney, Joseph Lopez, said Sims, 29, has been in federal custody since June 2015. His prison sentence is likely to be two to three years.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin said he was inclined to put Sims on home detention until sentencing, pending an interview by court personnel. Sims’ plea agreement listed no acts of violence, the judge noted.

Labar “Bro Man” Spann. | Chicago Police Department
Labar “Bro Man” Spann.
Chicago police

An indictment linked the Four Corner Hustlers to six killings between 2000 and 2003. Prosecutors have since tied the gang to three more, all in 2012. Three other men charged in the indictment are cooperating with prosecutors.

Though he’s not tied to any of the murders, prosecutors have said Sims shot someone in a leg in July 2008 in the 4000 block of West Fifth Avenue — the heart of a swath of West Side territory claimed by the gang. Though the victim identified Sims, prosecutors said the person later signed a “refusal to prosecute” form.

The shooting isn’t mentioned in Sims’ plea agreement.

According to police records, Sims worked at the direction of Labar Spann, the reputed leader of the Outlaws faction of the Four Corner Hustlers. Prosecutors say Sims ran the faction’s drug sales operation in the 3900 block of West Lexington Street.

In 2011, when Labar Spann was in jail, leaders of a rival faction — the Syndicates — asked Sims to join them, but he refused, according to court records. A year later, Sims was shot and wounded near 13th and Millard in a shooting the police think was part of an ongoing Outlaws/Syndicates conflict.

On May 27, 2014, prosecutors say Sims put more than $38,000 in cash in the bank account of a family member. The money was converted that day to a cashier’s check Sims used to buy a unit in the 120-year-old greystone at 3927 W. Lexington St.

Prosecutors say Stevon Sims ran the Four Corner Hustlers’ drug operations in the 3900 block of West Lexington Street at the direction of reputed gang boss Labar “Bro Man” Spann.
Prosecutors say Stevon Sims ran the Four Corner Hustlers’ drug operations in the 3900 block of West Lexington Street at the direction of reputed gang boss Labar “Bro Man” Spann.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

Police raided that building three times between November 2014 and January 2015. They seized 92.5 grams of heroin, 21.5 grams of cocaine, 1.9 grams of cannabis, a “military style assault rifle” with 30 live rounds, a 12-gauge shotgun with six live shells, two loaded handguns — one that was reported stolen in July 2014 — and another 12 live rounds of ammunition, according to court records.

In June 2015, federal prosecutors charged Sims with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He pleaded guilty in August 2016 and was sentenced the following February to 69 months in prison.

At his sentencing, Sims’ grandmother said she helped raise him and described him as “a very smart, bright, athletic, obedient young man.” A father of two, Sims attended parochial schools and took violin lessons as a child, his grandmother said.

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