A $600 drug deal, 40 years in prison
To help prove its case, prosecutors years later turned to Antwuan Ball’s cousin, Kairi Kellibrew. A decade younger than Ball, Kellibrew began using marijuana at age 9 and was selling by 13, according to testimony. He decided to testify against his cousin after being arrested on drug charges.
Days after Kairi Ball’s death, Kellibrew later testified, he spoke to Antwuan about wanting to help track down the killer.
“I was talking to Twuan because I wanted to ride on the situation. I wanted to put in some work on the situation,” Kellibrew said. “I wanted to bust my gun about my cousin.”
Later, Kellibrew said he arrived at the scene of Mr. Lewis’ Jan. 23, 1996, slaying in Congress Park. He said when the police opened the door to Mr. Lewis’ truck, “his brains fell out with his gun in his hand.” He also said Antwuan Ball later admitted killing Mr. Lewis.
But defense attorneys said the story didn’t add up. While Kellibrew said he saw brains in the street, they argued that a medical examiner’s report showed there were no gunshots to Mr. Lewis’ head and that the shooting happened well after sundown - not during the day as Kellibrew testified.
In a recent memo, prosecutors Glenn Leon, Ann Petalas and Gilberto Guerrero Jr. stood by Kellibrew as a credible witness, though defense lawyers questioned his years of drug use.
Both sides said information that might have bolstered their cases didn’t make it into trial. Prosecutors said they seized a “roster” of names of members of the Congress Park Crew. And defense attorneys wanted to show how the Metropolitan Police had closed out the Troy Lewis homicide a decade earlier, blaming someone else.
For her part, Mrs. Ball-Lee said she told her son while she was in prison not to try to track down her son’s killer.
“Antwuan called me and he said, ‘Mama, I’m not going to let it go,’” she recalled.
“I said, ‘Antwuan, if you do, you’re going to go to jail and it’s going to keep on going. … They’re going to kill, they’re going to kill, they’re going to kill. That’s it. You can’t go there.”
Later, she said, her son relented.
“He said, ‘Mama, I’m going to let it go.’”
“Alright, this is special agent Rob Lockhart. Again, it’s 7-26-2001; time is approximately 1:16 p.m. CW is going to be heading into the area now to attempt to meet with Antwuan Ball.”
A transcript of the secretly recorded drug buy detailed how for the second time in as many weeks confidential witness Silver Star tried to set up a deal with Ball. Things weren’t getting off to a good start. Ball wasn’t answering his phone.