Jim Kouri
Death! Federal jury imposes death penalty on brutal murderer
By Jim Kouri
June 16, 2011

A vicious 30-year old murderer of three — two men and a woman — will soon be scheduled for a date with the executioner thanks to a federal jury in New Haven, Connecticut.

The jury today voted unanimously to impose the federal death penalty against 30-year old Azibo Aquart for his role in the murder of three people who dared to cross him and his drug gang.

Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, only three men have been executed in 23 years. A total of 68 prisoners were sentenced to death since 1988.

On May 23, 2011, the jury found Aquart, aka "Azibo Smith," "Azibo Siwatu Jahi Smith," "D," "Dreddy" and "Jumbo," of Bridgeport, Connecticut, guilty of the August 24, 2005, murders of Tina Johnson, 43; James Reid, 40; and Basil Williams, 54.

The trial, held before District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton, began on April 20, 2011. The jury members did not appear to hesitate to impose the federal death penalty on Aquart on four of the six counts of his conviction. The court has not yet scheduled a date for the convicted murderers execution.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Aquart was the founder and leader of a drug trafficking group that primarily sold crack cocaine out of an apartment building located in Bridgeport. Aquart and his associates participated in acts of violence, such as threats and assaults, to maintain their control over the group's drug distribution activities at the Charles Street apartments.

During the summer of 2005, Aquart and his associates were involved in a drug trafficking dispute with Tina Johnson at the Charles Street apartments. According to evidence submitted at trial, Johnson sometimes sold smaller quantities of crack cocaine without the approval of Aquart.

According to the evidence submitted at trial, on the morning of August 24, 2005, Aquart and others entered Johnson's apartment, bound Johnson, her boyfriend Reid, and her friend Williams with duct tape and brutally beat the victims to death with baseball bats. Aquart and others then drilled the front door of the apartment shut from the inside.

In addition to witness testimony, the government offered extensive forensic evidence gathered from Johnson's apartment, including fingerprints and evidence that contained DNA from Aquart and his co-conspirators. According to evidence presented at trial, Aquart's fingerprint was found on a piece of duct tape recovered from the crime scene.

The jury found Aquart guilty of conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering and committing the racketeering murders of Johnson, Reid and Williams. The jury also found Aquart guilty of committing three counts of drug-related murder, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine).

© Jim Kouri


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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)


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