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South LA gang leader-turned-peacemaker found guilty of racketeering, murder

East Coast Crips leader Paul "Doc" Wallace had been instrumental in ending a 20-year war between his gang and the Florencia 13 gang.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — A longtime South Los Angeles gang leader who in recent years had dedicated himself to ending gang violence was found guilty of racketeering and murder.

A federal jury in downtown LA returned a verdict after 2 1/2 days of deliberation against Paul "Doc" Wallace, who the government claimed was the "boss of bosses" of the East Coast Crips. They found him guilty for his part in the 2014 murder of Reginald Brown, a member of the rival Hoovers gang, but not of the 2003 murder of fellow East Coast Crips member over a disrespect situation.

Wallace, 56, faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing set for July 29.

Despite Wallace’s undeniably long rap sheet, his indictment in 2020 was met with disbelief and sent a chill through the community, where he was widely lauded as being instrumental in ending a vicious 20-year war between the East Coast Crips and Florencia 13, a neighboring Hispanic street gang. Many believed he was charged because his work in establishing the unprecedented truce between Black and Hispanic gangs raised his profile to the extent that federal investigators started to pay attention to him.

Wallace's mother and other family members attended the trial as well as friends and supporters who knew him from his gang intervention work.

"They can't give him life because I already have given him life when I gave birth to him," his mother said after the verdict was read.

The brother of Reginald Brown, the murder victim, also attended the trial. He is also active in gang intervention work and had come to know Wallace through his work in the neighborhood to end gang violence.

Amy Jacks, one of Wallace's lawyers, declined to comment on the verdict.

Wallace has been a member of the East Coast Crips since the late 1970s, according to court filings. The gang controls a large swath of territory on the eastern side of South LA, hence its name, and is a loose confederation of multiple subsets. Wallace, prosecutors claim, is the most influential member of the so-called 6 Pacc, a collective of four sets named after their territories around 62nd, 66th, 68th and 69th streets.

Prosecutors charged Wallace with racketeering conspiracy, including murder, narcotics trafficking, witness tampering, and extortion in support of gang's criminal enterprise.

The jury convicted him of the murder of Brown, where he's said to have driven the shooter to the home of the rival gang member in his white Cadillac Escalade. The AK-47 used in the shooting was found the following year in a minivan rented by Wallace. He told police that another gang member had left it there.

Wallace wasn't convicted of another murder, the 2003 shooting of fellow East Coast Crips member Raymond Picket, who had disrespected Wallace. The only eyewitness to that shooting testified during the trial that he didn't see who shot Pickett.

The government's case rested on a trio of cooperating witnesses, all East Coast Crips members who testified that while in custody with Wallace, he had told them about the shootings of Brown and Pickett. Wallace's defense tried to attack the credibility of these witnesses, who they argued only started providing information about Wallace when they were facing significant prison time in their own criminal cases.

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