- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Jurors began deliberations Friday in the federal racketeering case against a New Orleans crime figure already serving a life sentence on a state murder charge.

The trial of Telly Hankton and three other defendants opened June 6. The four have pleaded not guilty to charges that they were part of an operation that started trafficking drugs in the mid-1990s and protected its territory with violence and murder.

The jury didn’t reach a verdict on those charges Friday, according to The Advocate, and will continue deliberating Monday.

There were once 14 defendants in the case. That number dwindled amid plea deals that included Telly Hankton’s mother, Shirley, who pleaded guilty in May to racketeering. Remaining on trial with Telly Hankton are alleged hit man Walter Porter and two of Hankton’s cousins, Andre Hankton and Kevin Jackson.

The 40-year-old Hankton already is serving life in prison for killing Darnell Stewart. He is charged in federal court with “murder in aid of racketeering” in Stewart’s 2008 death and those of two other men.

Telly Hankton once was described by New Orleans police as one of the city’s most dangerous criminals. After the brother of a witness in a case against Hankton was shot and killed in 2011, Mayor Mitch Landrieu held a news conference with law enforcement officials in front of the daiquiri shop where the shooting occurred. “We’re coming to get you,” he declared in remarks addressed to Hankton and his associates.

Federal prosecutors allege in their lengthy indictment that Porter shot Curtis Matthews, 61, at the daiquiri shop. Matthews’ brother, John, had testified against Hankton in his state trial for Stewart’s death.

Among the witnesses in the federal trial this week, was John Matthews, now 70, who survived multiple gunshots in 2010, allegedly fired by Porter.

John Matthews, once the owner of the daiquiri shop where his brother was killed, told the jury in the federal case that he was hit more than 17 times when two men burst into his home, according to an account of his testimony in The New Orleans Advocate (https://bit.ly/28SgyHp). Federal prosecutors say one of the shooters was Porter.

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