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Witness in Florida Gang Killing Found Dead Before Trial

August 15, 2011

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The day Eguel Geffrard was supposed to testify in the trial of the man accused of leading one of South Florida’s most violent gangs, police found his bloodied body in a parking lot, a targeted hit authorities said was meant to be a message reinforcing Top 6’s power.

Top 6 became the most violent gang in Palm Beach County history, linked to 14 homicides and more than 150 shootings in the past few years, including a fatal Christmas Eve shooting at a busy mall in 2006 — all part of a bloody gang war, authorities said. Alleged leader Futo Charles, 30, has been arrested more than a dozen times since 2003, but this week’s trial could send the steely gazed Charles to prison for much of his life.

Like many of Top 6’s members, Geffrard was a suspect in a previous crime, but ultimately became a victim as the gang members frequently turned on each other.

After his violent death Monday, a judge ordered jurors to be partially sequestered with armed guards escorting them to and from the courthouse. Six deputies flanked the tiny courtroom during Charles’ trial and K-9 dogs swept the courtroom hallways. He faces a slew of charges, including drug possessions, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder for attacking a lifelong acquaintance in a turf war.

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