Crime Spree on the Reservation
The first bullet entered Brian Patrick Lindsay's head and tore through his tongue.
The 20-year-old Subway sandwich shop clerk grabbed his face and collapsed near the cash register. As he lay on his back, he was shot five more times at very close range, and then he was kicked by one of his assailants.
But Pat Lindsay did not immediately die on the evening of May 15, 1994.
After his attackers had grabbed sandwiches, sodas and chips and a bank bag that contained $100, they had fled the eatery at the Scottsdale Pavilions shopping center. Somehow, the injured clerk knew they were gone and pulled himself up to the telephone. He dialed 911. Because his mouth was gushing blood, Lindsay had difficulty making himself understood.
"Help me, I been shot," he tried to say.
"I can't understand you, sir," the 911 operator responded.
"Help me, help me," Lindsay moaned, his voice nearly drowned out by country-western ambient music in the background.
"Are you alone, sir?" the operator asked.
"I been shot," Lindsay tried to say a second time. "Help me."
He was silent, then moaned: "Help me. I been shot. Please."
"What's your name, sir?" the operator asked.
"Pat Lindsay. Help me. Help me," he said.
"Please," he said.
Lindsay gripped the telephone receiver for almost five minutes, until police and firefighters arrived at the popular shopping center on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community just east of Scottsdale.
By nodding to questions, Lindsay was able to convey to a firefighter that his attackers were Native Americans. He died a short while later.
No one who knew the amiable Northern Arizona University engineering student could fathom who would want to kill Lindsay. He was a Christian boy. He worked hard in school. He seemed to get along with everyone. At the time of his death, he had just begun his summer job at Subway. He'd worked there during previous summer breaks and on vacation.
People on the reservation were shocked by the senselessness of the murder. What sort of person would gun down an innocent Anglo kid while he was fixing an order of meatball sandwiches?
No one realized at the time that Pat Lindsay's murder would mark the beginning of a two-year crime spree that included murder, drive-by shootings, death threats, beatings, arsons, fire-bombings and robberies on the once-tranquil Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Pat Lindsay's killers were not easy to find. They left little physical evidence at the crime scene--only the bullets in Lindsay's body from an unknown gun and a few fingerprints that no crime lab could identify. There were no witnesses. Lindsay had been working alone on the late shift. There had been no customers in the shop.
But a maintenance worker who was hosing off sidewalks near the Subway had seen three Native American men dressed in baggy, "gangsta"-style clothes enter the Subway around the time Lindsay was killed.
A few minutes later, a different man who worked at a music shop near the Subway had seen three Native American males in baggy clothes leave the sandwich shop and get in an old Plymouth driven by a fourth man.
A few days later, the music-shop employee noticed the same old Plymouth near Scottsdale Pavilions and reported the license number to tribal police.
Tribal police detectives interviewed the car's owner, Riley Briones Jr., a known member of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties, a gang that had sprouted up on the reservation around 1993. Briones, who lived on the reservation, told police he frequently went to the Pavilions late at night to pick up his girlfriend, who worked at one of the shops.
The Subway murder remained unsolved for nearly a year.
Then tribal police received an anonymous tip on the reservation's silent-witness phone line. The tip led police not only to Pat Lindsay's killers--including Riley Briones Jr.--but into the frightening world of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties, a gang made up almost entirely of young men and teenagers who lived on the reservation, got high on crystal meth and cheap beer and terrorized their community of about 9,000 residents with violent, deadly crimes.
The Indian gang had been formed by Riley Briones Jr. and others in 1993 and had no apparent connection to the original Crips, a Los Angeles street gang.
But the Pima gangsters were every bit as destructive to the social fabric of the reservation as the L.A. Crips were to Compton. Besides committing violent crimes, various members of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties plotted to kill their own relatives and one another. They divided families, pitting brother against brother, father against son. They sired children out of wedlock, moved into the homes of the terrified parents of their girlfriends and, in one instance, arranged for a Crip to seduce the 14-year-old sister of a rival Blood gangster so the girl would disgrace her brother by birthing a Crip baby.
To see reservation youth emulate Los Angeles street gangsters was a shameful thing for traditional Pima people, who belonged to a culture known for enduring and overcoming extreme hardship with quiet dignity and prayer. That is part of being Pima, something traditionalists carry inside them, even though on the outside they may be Dartmouth graduates or bureaucrats or hotel maids.
Traditional Pimas believe they should not draw attention to themselves, especially in a way that hurts others--like joining a street gang.
Several community members interviewed for this story say they know how the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties took hold of their urban reservation. They say it's because Pimas frequently intermarry with Anglos and Mexicans, because youngsters don't learn their traditional culture, because alcoholic parents teach their kids to party instead of to behave.
Whatever the reasons, in 1993, gang graffiti started appearing on the reservation--a strong indication that some kids were at the very least taking an interest in gang culture.
The Subway murder and other violent crimes on the reservation jolted tribal leaders into action. A no-nonsense gang task force was formed, and the tribal police set up a gang unit. Antigang programs were introduced in schools. A silent-witness hot line was set up in the police station so that community members could inform on the gangsters without fear of reprisal. (To this day, police refuse to reveal the identity of the Subway-murder tipster who called in.) The effort to rid the reservation of gangs got national attention--Karl Auerbach and Juan Arvizu, the tribal detectives who worked on the Subway murder, won a national law enforcement award for their antigang work.
But by the time the tribal authorities started to take strong action, the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties were well-established on the reservation and committing crimes. Their activities made the Salt River reservation one of the most violent in Arizona.
No one knows how many kids joined the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties; the gang itself boasted of 150 members on four Arizona reservations--San Carlos, White River, Gila River and Salt River. But those numbers are probably exaggerated.
Although there were other gangs on the Salt River reservation, none seemed as sophisticated or as brutal as the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties.
Tribal police took the lead in investigating the Subway murder and other gang-related crimes, but several federal and state agencies assisted--including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the FBI and the ATF. And because federal law says all felonies committed on Indian reservations must be prosecuted in federal, instead of tribal, courts, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix devised a strategy for prosecuting the gangsters once tribal police caught them.
That strategy, devised by assistant U.S. attorney Pat Schneider, was to charge several members of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties with racketeering under federal RICO statutes. Schneider successfully argued that because the gangsters conspired in the same criminal enterprise--the gang--they should be tried together in one courtroom. During that trial, which ended in May, the gangsters were also tried for their individual gang-related crimes. The strategy allowed Schneider to present a detailed, shocking picture of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties to the jury--a picture that might not have been allowed if the gangsters had been tried separately.
That trial ended with multiple convictions and is considered significant in legal circles because it marks the first time an Indian gang was ever successfully prosecuted using RICO statutes.
And tribal police say that since core members of the gang have been either jailed or prosecuted, the number of violent crimes on the Salt River reservation has been reduced by about 20 percent.
In all, nine members of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties have been arrested. One is currently serving a life sentence in prison for the Subway murder. Two more have been found guilty of the Subway murder, but await sentencing. Others are in jail awaiting sentencing or other court proceedings. Two are hiding in a federal witness-protection program after testifying against their friends.
Among the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties who were arrested are:
* Arlo Eschief: In 1996, found guilty of one count of first-degree murder. Serving a life term in an out-of-state federal prison.
* Philbert Antone: One count each first-degree murder, robbery and racketeering. Faces a life sentence. Sentencing July 28, U.S. District Court, Phoenix.
* Riley Briones Jr.: In May, found guilty of one count each: first-degree murder, robbery, possession of an unregistered destructive device, witness tampering and racketeering. Also found guilty of: arson (four counts) and conspiracy to commit arson (four counts). Faces a life sentence. Sentencing July 28, U.S. District Court, Phoenix.
* Riley Briones Sr.: In May, found guilty of one count each: witness tampering and racketeering. Faces a maximum 30-year term. Sentencing July 28, U.S. District Court, Phoenix.
* Ricardo Briones: In May, found guilty of one count each: witness tampering and racketeering; two counts assault with a deadly weapon. Faces a maximum 30-year term. Sentencing July 28, U.S. District Court, Phoenix.
* John Webster: Originally charged with first-degree murder, racketeering, conspiracy to commit arson, arson, use of a destructive device in a crime of violence and assault with a dangerous weapon, Webster pleaded guilty to the racketeering charge in exchange for testifying against fellow gangsters. The other charges were dropped. Faces a maximum 20-year prison term. Sentencing October 20, U.S. District Court, Phoenix.
* Mark Case: In jail, implicated in the stomping death of Johnny James, a 14-year-old boy, in December 1995. Has not been charged. Case still under investigation.
* Nick Pablo: Also in jail. Implicated in the death of Johnny James and the Subway murder. Both cases are still under investigation.
* Gilland Fulwilder Jr.: High up in the gang hierarchy, he testified against the gang after being implicated in the James murder. Has not been charged with the James murder. Currently in federal witness-protection program.
* Norval Antone: In the federal witness-protection program. Has not been charged with any gang-related crime.
With the exception of John Webster, all gangsters denied committing any crimes.
Several gangsters refused a jailhouse interview with New Times. Others could not be interviewed because they are in undisclosed locations in witness-protection programs.
But public records--including police reports and trial testimony--and interviews with family members, reservation residents, police and attorneys tell the bloody story of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties.
In 1993, the year before Pat Lindsay was murdered, this newspaper published an article ("Strong Medicine," June 23) about an alternative school on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Riley Briones Jr., then a 17-year-old student at the school, was interviewed for the story. He told of his initiation into an off-reservation Crip gang when he was 14. He seemed to be proud of the initiation, which entailed someone stuffing a 9mm pistol into his mouth--Riley Junior said he didn't know the gun was empty--and pulling the trigger. Next, Riley got "jumped in," or beaten silly, by other gang members. He had shown he had heart. He was presented with a blue bandanna. He was a Crip.
The year after he became a Crip, Riley Junior became a father. He vowed he would marry his girlfriend, Carmen Montiel, but he never did.
Riley Junior attended two high schools in Mesa before enrolling at the reservation alternative school. Riley Junior said his dad, Riley Briones Sr., pulled him out of one high school, fearing reprisals because Riley Junior fought with a skinhead who was a member of a rival gang. Next, Riley Junior was suspended from a different school for stabbing someone else in a gang fight.
When he attended the alternative school on the reservation, Riley Junior wore his Crip colors to class because he was proud of belonging to an organization he described in this way: "It's not a gang. . . . It's just protection. . . ."
Actually, in 1993, while Riley Junior attended the reservation alternative high school and drew pictures during class of sexy women holding guns, he spent his off-school hours with his gangster pals at the reservation home of his parents, Rosy and Riley Briones.
The new $80,000 HUD home was painted blue--the Crip color--inside and out. The curtains and the couch were blue.
Riley Senior, 37, a landscaper, is only 17 years older than his eldest son, Riley Junior. Of mixed Mexican and Indian heritage, he promoted what he called "unity" between Mexicans and Indians. Riley Senior's notion of unity was symbolized by "M" and "I" tattoos etched into the forearms--and, in one case, the face--of various East Side Crips Rolling Thirties members.
Riley Senior was the chief adviser and father figure to the gang. He encouraged another son, Ricardo, in his gang activities. Riley Senior allowed the gang to meet and strategize at his home on the reservation. Riley Senior monitored the tribal police with a scanner. And when police raided Riley Senior's house in 1996, they discovered photos of one of his younger sons, a preschooler, dressed in Crip attire. In the photo, the grinning toddler hugs an SKS fully automatic assault rifle.
Folks in the community say Rosy Briones, Riley Senior's wife, could not prevent the gang activity in her home because she herself was a victim of abuse. Others say Rosy herself is a gang groupie.
Rosy is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe. A sad-eyed woman who seems to love her sons--the eldest is Riley Junior, followed by Ricardo, Rosario and Geronimo--Rosy works at a local sand-and-rock company. Reservation residents say she sometimes wore dark glasses to hide her black eyes. Riley Senior once was jailed for beating Rosy, and it wasn't the first time he'd attacked her.
Rosy Briones declined repeated requests for an interview.
"I'm laying low," she says.
Among those who frequented the blue Briones house and were recruited and "jumped in" to the gang in 1993 were a reservation drug dealer named Gilland Fulwilder Jr., a petty criminal named Philbert Antone and a party guy named Norval Antone (Philbert's cousin).
Fulwilder got a taste for drugs early in life, having, he explained in court, "smoked a little weed" when he was 6. He began selling marijuana he stole from people's backyards when he was 8. By the time he was 13, he had graduated to speed. And when he was 20, he was a full-time drug dealer, specializing in crystal methamphetamine--the favorite drug of some members of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties.
Fulwilder also sold drugs to children.
The two Antones and Fulwilder became "OGs," or original gangsters, and belonged to the inner circle of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties. They helped the Briones clan increase membership and plan initiations--like fire-bombings--for wanna-be teenage gangsters.
"We want to see if you are worthy," the OGs would tell the wanna-bes. And then they would beat them.
In the paramilitary hierarchy of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties, Riley Senior was the elder and gang "friend," and Riley Junior was the gang leader. Ricardo took his orders from his big brother. Beneath the leadership were the OGs, and beneath the OGs were "Straight Up Soldiers" who had a special division called "the Dark Army" or "Skins Killing Slobs."
The Skins Killing Slobs were "sort of like a death squad," Fulwilder once said. (Like Riley Junior, who had fought a skinhead in high school, everyone seemed to hate skinheads.)
Eventually, Fulwilder became a lieutenant in the gang, which meant he could bodyguard Riley Senior and Riley Junior and had earned the right to wear "M" and "I" tattoos on his face.
Beneath the soldiers were the "Pee Wees," usually reservation teens who would do practically anything to be allowed into the inner circle of the gang. Pee Wees began their gang careers with spray-paint cans and sometimes graduated to murder.
When Pee Wees turned 18, they had another obligation. Members of the Salt River tribe automatically receive "claims money"--about $15,000--on their 18th birthday. Riley Senior expected Pee Wees to turn over part of their claims to purchase more weapons to add to the arsenal at the blue house.
Philbert Antone and his brother Nolan had been physically and mentally abused by their alcoholic mother, who was separated from their alcoholic father. The children were sent to foster homes until their father, Nolan Sr., sobered up.
But by the time Nolan Sr. was awarded custody of the boys, Nolan Jr. was 11 and Philbert was 9. When they returned to the reservation to live with their father, Nolan Jr. says in an interview with New Times, the little boys felt awkward, like outsiders.
Philbert seemed more angry than Nolan. Both boys drank heavily, but Philbert also acted out in other ways--his juvenile rap sheet includes shoplifting, aggravated assault, indecent exposure and sexual abuse. A psychiatrist who assessed him as a youngster concluded Philbert was depressed, stuffed his anger about "abandonment issues" and used alcohol to medicate his depression.
Unlike many others in the gang, Philbert never seemed to have a serious relationship with a woman and did not sire any illegitimate children.
For a while, Philbert tried to make something of himself. He worked at movie theaters and McDonald's, and in December 1991 started working at Subway at Scottsdale Pavilions. But he was fired a year later for frequently missing work.
In April 1993, Philbert Antone seemed to have lost the will to pull his life together. That was the month he joined the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties.
"He seemed not to give a damn about anything," says his brother Nolan. "I understood that. Sometimes I felt that way, too."
In August 1993, Philbert got drunk and was arrested for trying to steal a car in downtown Phoenix. He listed his address as a downtown homeless shelter, perhaps because he did not want his father to know he was drinking and in jail. But he didn't stay in jail for long. He was put on probation and returned to the reservation and his gang.
He did not tell his family of his gang affiliation. He knew his brother, father and stepmother would not approve. He also did not hang around the house much.
Philbert was rehired at the Subway in late 1993. But he flaked out again, started not to show up for work, and got fired in February 1994.
That same month, Philbert and a friend, Arlo Eschief, went to the Jewelbox pawnshop in downtown Phoenix and bought the gun that Eschief would use two months later to kill Pat Lindsay.
Philbert and Eschief were pals for a number of reasons. Eschief had never been jumped into the gang, but he was a "friend" of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties. Philbert was uncle to two of Eschief's kids--Eschief fathered the children by Philbert's sister, Elizabeth Antone.
Although he did not marry Elizabeth, Eschief was living at the Antones' home in the spring of 1994. When he got drunk, Elizabeth's parents later said, Eschief would fly into rages and sometimes beat up Elizabeth.
Other individuals in the Antone family have declined comment for this story, choosing Nolan Jr. as their family spokesman.
When asked why his parents allowed Eschief and Elizabeth to live in their home, Nolan Jr. said: "I don't know."
Sixteen-year-old John Webster was lonely. He joined the gang to make friends. Webster was of mixed Anglo and Pima heritage, and was shunned because of his Anglo blood. A coordinated kid who was fast on his feet, he practiced karate and even had a black ninja outfit.
Gang leaders noticed his coordination and decided to jump him into the gang in March 1994, the month after Philbert and Eschief bought the Subway murder weapon. Webster's gang name became "Gato," Spanish for "cat," because of his agility.
Webster's court testimony of what happened on the night of May 15, 1994, is the only detailed public account of the Subway murder.
According to Webster, that evening Philbert Antone and Nick Pablo, a 15-year-old gang wanna-be, arrived at his house. Philbert was carrying a bat and talked about robbing and killing a "rich white dude" at the Subway where Philbert used to work. The robbery was necessary to obtain the money to purchase more weapons, Webster was told.
"I said, 'What are you going to do, beat him down with your bat?'" Webster asked Philbert.
"He [Philbert] said, 'No, Arlo [Eschief] has a gun. He'll kill him with the gun.'"
A few minutes later, Arlo Eschief and Riley Junior arrived at Webster's house in Riley Junior's old brown Plymouth.
"You're going to be tested," Riley Junior told Webster as the five drove off. They cruised around, and got drunk before they pulled into the Pavilions parking lot.
Riley Junior waited in the car while the other four went into Philbert's former workplace. They noticed a maintenance worker outside hosing off the sidewalk. He looked at them, went back to his work.
Pat Lindsay immediately recognized his former co-worker Philbert, whom he considered a friend. The two chatted happily while Lindsay prepared the sandwiches that Philbert had ordered.
Eschief seemed to be nervous, went back to the parking lot to confer with Riley Junior. When he came back in, Eschief shot Lindsay in the face.
Lindsay fell to the floor, and Eschief shot him five more times.
"It didn't seem real after the first shot," Webster later recalled.
"It was loud. You couldn't hear nothing."
While Philbert struggled to open the cash register, Nick Pablo kicked the moaning clerk, Webster testified.
"What you gonna do now, punk?" Webster says Pablo said to the dying man as he kicked him.
Eschief grabbed the order Lindsay had prepared. He dropped a bag of chips on the floor, Webster picked it up.
Philbert was too nervous to open the cash register. He grabbed a blue bank bag and walked out of the store with the others.
Webster ran to Riley Junior's parked car.
Riley Junior scolded him for being so "obvious."
They drove around the Pavilions looking for the maintenance man who might possibly identify the group. Riley Junior gave 15-year-old Pablo a gun, told him to shoot the man.
But they couldn't find the maintenance man. Philbert was nervous.
"Let's get the f--- out of Dodge," Philbert said.
They went to Eschief's grandmother's house to hide out. Philbert and Nick Pablo ate the sandwiches, but no one else was hungry. The leftovers were put in the grandmother's refrigerator.
The next day, John Webster went to school.
But he couldn't get the murder out of his head. One evening when he and fellow gangster Norval Antone were walking on the reservation, he detailed the murder for Norval.
Norval promised he wouldn't tell a soul.
Nolan Antone and his son Nolan Jr. were upset by the senselessness of the Subway murder. They felt connected to the Subway store--Nolan Jr. and Philbert had both worked there on different occasions.
When the family talked about the murder, Philbert didn't say much, which wasn't unusual.
A month later, Philbert's probation officer had him arrested for violating the terms of his probation relating to the earlier attempted car theft.
But no one suspected that Philbert had been involved in a murder.
John Webster had proven he had "heart" when he attended the Subway murder. Three weeks after Lindsay was killed, John Webster was called upon again by Riley Junior--to fire-bomb the home of Lonnie Gutierrez. Someone in the Gutierrez family had reportedly whacked someone in the Crip gang with a bat. And Lonnie Gutierrez's son Russell, who did not live with Lonnie, was reportedly a member of the rival Blood gang. This was sufficient cause for violent retaliation.
Webster was ordered to wear his ninja outfit, complete with a black mask.
Various gang members filled 40-ounce beer bottles with gasoline, stuffed the bottles with a rag. Riley Junior taped Webster's fingers with duct tape so there would be no prints on the "Molotov cocktails" that he hurled into the Gutierrez home.
Webster set the house on fire, but he didn't kill anyone. As it turned out, Webster was the only casualty of the evening--he burned his hand.
The terrified Gutierrez family ran out of the house, and the fire was extinguished. But two of the Gutierrez children were so frightened by the event that they moved into another home--permanently.
A few days later, Riley Senior asked Webster about the burn on his hands. When Webster lied about how he'd gotten the burns, Riley Senior said in a gentle, proud, fatherly way, "I know what happened."
A few weeks later, John Webster turned 18. He received his claims money, and dutifully turned over enough for the gang to buy three guns.
Riley Senior invited Webster on a camping trip on the reservation. Webster and Riley Senior climbed a mountain that overlooks the sand-and-gravel pit where Riley Senior's wife was employed. Riley Senior pointed out a trailer that was supposedly filled with dynamite, asked Webster if he could steal the dynamite so they could use it to blow up the police station.
Webster replied that it was impossible--too many security guards. Riley Senior dropped the idea.
A few days later, Webster got yet another assignment, this time from Ricardo: Get the 14-year-old sister of Russell Gutierrez, reportedly a Blood, pregnant so she would have a Crip baby.
"They wanted me to have sex with her, get her pregnant, then leave her," Webster later testified, adding that for a Blood to have a Crip in the house would be a sign of major "disrespect."
The 14-year-old was Angela Gutierrez, who lived in the house that had just been fire-bombed. No one in the Gutierrez family knew Webster was the fire-bomber who had terrorized them just weeks before.
Webster began dating Angela, but, contrary to plan, fell in love with the girl. He even started staying in the Gutierrez home--until the gang told him it was prohibited--and smoked crack with an elder Gutierrez in the presence of 14-year-old Angela. The girl eventually did get pregnant with Webster's child. Webster, however, didn't leave the girl. He didn't marry her, either.
His West Side Story relationship infuriated the gang leadership.
John Webster was demoted to Pee Wee status.
In the fall of 1994, the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties leadership decided to fire-bomb the home of Russell Gutierrez, who was related to but did not live with Lonnie Gutierrez. This time, the gang excluded Webster from the plans, knowing of his fondness for Angela Gutierrez.
Members of the gang set two "diversionary" fires on the reservation, in order to keep the Salt River cops and fire department distracted from the real target.
Then the gang set fire to Russell Gutierrez's home.
No one was injured.
Weary of arson, the gang switched to drive-by shootings.
Ricardo helped organize two drive-by shootings. In one instance, Ricardo and Riley Junior wanted to retaliate against a rival gang member. In the other instance, the drive-by was designed to punish someone who threw a rock in Ricardo's girlfriend's window.
They didn't hit any rival gangsters; however, one of the bullets barely missed a little girl sitting at the dinner table.
Almost a year after Pat Lindsay was murdered, tribal police had set up their anonymous silent-witness tip line. In March 1995, an anonymous caller said the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties were responsible for the Subway murder.
Riley Junior started getting nervous when tribal police began interviewing him and a number of others.
Tribal police decided to nab Eschief first, the others later. Those present at the shooting could also be charged with first-degree murder under federal law.
The tribal cops interviewed Arlo Eschief's girlfriend, Elizabeth Antone, and learned she had confiscated a Taurus 9mm semiautomatic pistol from her lover shortly after the Lindsay murder. She took the gun because Eschief had used it to shoot up her father's dining-room table. Elizabeth gave the gun to her dad, who sold it to a friend.
Tribal police found the gun. Lab tests revealed it was the gun that had been used to kill Lindsay. And police matched Eschief's fingerprints to fingerprints they'd found in the sandwich shop.
Eschief confessed, implicated his friends and was arrested in April 1995. Despite his confession, he later pleaded not guilty. He was tried in district court in Phoenix in 1996, and is now serving a life sentence without parole at an undisclosed location for the murder of Pat Lindsay.
But other killers were still free.
Be calm, they told each other, they don't have anything on us.
But Norval Antone was behaving strangely. For instance, he had just received his claims money, but instead of turning some of the money over to the gang for weapon purchases, Norval threw a huge party on the reservation and did not invite the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties.
Norval actually spent his claims money on crystal meth, purchased, of course, from Gilland Fulwilder. He was taking so much crystal meth that he was sleepless and paranoid, thought the cops were after him.
Fulwilder decided to drop some acid with Norval, see if the LSD would calm the guy down. The acid didn't help. During a visit to a Mesa apartment Riley Junior was temporarily sharing with his girlfriend, Norval broke down and wept. The cops would get him for sure, he moaned.
Riley Junior pistol-whipped Norval until he fell to the floor.
Everyone thought Norval had been knocked out. Norval was actually conscious and terrified as he listened to his friends and cousins discuss killing him, he later testified.
Norval jumped up, ran for his life.
He dove through the window of a nearby apartment. When the occupant screamed at the sight of bloody Norval on her kitchen floor, he pleaded: "Shut up, they'll kill you, too."
When Norval was released from the hospital, he called tribal police, who worked out a deal for him to enter the federal witness-protection program in exchange for his court testimony.
Norval told police everything John Webster had confided to him about the Subway murder.
Riley Senior must have sensed Norval was singing to the cops. A week after Norval disappeared into the witness-protection program, a meeting was held at the blue house on the reservation. Riley Senior was beginning to suspect Gilland Fulwilder might also inform on the gang.
"There will be no snitches," Fulwilder later remembered Riley Senior said. "I would hate to kill your kids. I would hate to kill your father. I would hate to kill your family, but there aren't gonna be no snitches no more."
Shortly after, Gilland Fulwilder claims John Webster shot at him repeatedly with an SKS fully automatic assault rifle.
Webster denies that charge. He says he was shooting in the air to scare his girlfriend's parents.
Tribal cops began arresting more and more members of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties for arson, drive-bys and the Subway murder.
In August 1995, John Webster was arrested and charged with a number of crimes, including arson, murder and shooting at Gilland Fulwilder with an assault rifle. (Because Webster later worked out a deal with the feds, all charges were dropped except for the racketeering charge, to which Webster pleaded guilty. He remains in jail awaiting sentencing.)
Gilland Fulwilder was also arrested in 1995 for a minor probation violation. Fulwilder was released shortly before Christmas in 1995.
While in jail, Fulwilder learned that a young kid, Johnny James, might have been partying with his girlfriend, who was the mother of three of Fulwilder's children.
When he was released, Fulwilder later testified, he and Nick Pablo and Mark Case, two teen members of the East Side Crips Rolling Thirties, visited the girlfriend at her home in a reservation housing development.
They were drinking Old English champagne.
They got drunk.
The three saw James, began arguing with him. Fulwilder nudged him, then fell on him. Fulwilder got up; James remained on the ground. Mark Case and Nick Pablo "stomped" the boy for 45 minutes, Fulwilder testified. Case was wearing steel-toed boots. In the midst of the fight, Fulwilder left in search of a cigarette. When he returned, Case and Pablo were still kicking the boy, he testified.
Two friends of James witnessed the stomping.
"We told them we knew where they lived. If they said anything, we'll come after them," Fulwilder testified.
Johnny James lay limp on the ground, still alive.
Next, Fulwilder testified, the three gangsters struggled to stuff the boy into a neighbor's car. Pablo kicked at James' head even after he was in the back seat.
"It was like stepping on a bug," Fulwilder recalled.
When the gangsters finally got James stuffed into the car, they drove to the Arizona Canal, hoping to throw James in the water so he would drown "to get rid of him," Fulwilder said.
But there was no water in the canal, so the gangsters threw the boy on the dirt and drove away. He died in the hospital a few days later.
Johnny James had no gang affiliation.
His parents have since left the reservation and could not be located for comment.
Almost immediately, Fulwilder was picked up by police, and worked out a deal to join the federal witness-protection program in exchange for his testimony on various gang crimes. He has not been charged in the James murder.
Case and Pablo were also arrested and remain in custody. Although Pablo has been implicated in both the Subway murder and the James murder, he has not been charged with either crime. Case also has not been charged in the stomping of Johnny James. The James case is still being investigated.
Riley Junior was arrested in December 1995 and charged with a number of crimes, including first-degree murder in connection with Pat Lindsay's death.
Riley Senior and Ricardo were arrested in 1996.
All three have refused jailhouse interviews with New Times.
April 1997. There was a loyal audience for the racketeering-crime-spree trial that ultimately resulted in the convictions of Philbert Antone, Riley Senior, Riley Junior and Ricardo Briones.
Philbert Antone was the only defendant who paid no attention to the audience, not even when he testified that he was innocent of murder.
Riley Junior, Riley Senior and Ricardo occasionally looked over at the three women who observed the trial from the area where spectators sympathetic to the defense usually sit.
Rosy Briones appeared haggard and sad. She often looked at her sons and husband. Riley's girlfriend, Carmen Montiel, sat with Rosy.
A few rows away, Ricardo's beautiful girlfriend Melissa Martinez nursed Ricardo's baby. Melissa didn't talk much to Rosy and Carmen.
On the side of the room where those sympathetic to the prosecution usually sit, Sharyn and Brian Lindsay, the parents of Pat Lindsay, clutched each other's hands. They stared straight ahead, ignoring the women on the other side of the room. The Lindsays attended each day of the trial, including the day when the 911 tape detailing their son's last minutes was played. (The Lindsays refused a request for an interview, saying they wanted to wait until all judicial proceedings connected with their son's murder are complete. There is still one person implicated in the killing--Nick Pablo--who has not been charged.)
Nolan Antone Jr., Philbert's brother, also attended each day of the trial.
Nolan's brother had been in jail since 1994, but he had not written his father or brother. And he hadn't phoned. During the first week of the trial, Philbert's lawyer told Nolan that Philbert didn't want him to attend the trial anymore.
"Maybe he was ashamed of what he'd done," Nolan says. "He knew how my father and I felt about all this."
Despite his brother's wishes, Nolan continued to show up at the trial. But he didn't know where to sit. First he sat on the prosecution side. Then he sat on the defense side. Then he settled in for good on the prosecution side.
"I don't want my brother to think I wanted him to get the ax," Nolan says. "No way. I just wished me and him could just walk out of there and he could have another chance to get his life together.
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