Fugitive Since 1976 Is Arrested Reputed Member Of Black Mafia

Posted: October 26, 1989

Joseph "JoJo" Rhone, a reputed member of the old Black Mafia who jumped bail in 1976 while awaiting trial on a murder charge and had been on the lam ever since, was arrested yesterday in South Philadelphia, police said.

At 3:35 a.m., FBI agents and Philadelphia police found Rhone asleep on a sofa in a house in the 2000 block of Watkins Street - just a half-block from his old address on 20th Street, police said.

Rhone did not resist arrest, police said, adding that a loaded gun was found in the house.

Rhone, 36, now faces trial in the November 1975 gangland slaying of Hershell Williams, a 6-foot-6 reputed Black Mafia member known as the Jolly Green Giant.

Williams, 26, was gunned down outside his East Mount Airy Home in view of his two small children, allegedly because he owed $2,000 on a cocaine shipment and refused to pay.

Two co-defendants - reputed Black Mafia leaders Lonnie Dawson and William

Roy Hoskins - were convicted of the Williams murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Dawson, 42, of Maple Glen, Montgomery County, and Hoskins, 36, of Laverock, Montgomery County, are also serving federal sentences of 125 years for running a heroin and cocaine distribution network in Philadelphia and Delaware County.

Rhone also was charged yesterday with the April 11, 1976, murder of reputed Black Mafia associate James "Monk" Hadley, 23, of the 2200 block of Reed Street.

Hadley was shot three times as he sat about 1 a.m. on the steps of a South Philadelphia house. Before dying an hour later of multiple gunshot wounds, he told police that Joseph Rhone had killed him, according to police sources.

Rhone was arraigned early yesterday and ordered held without bail pending a preliminary hearing Wednesday in City Hall in connection with the Hadley killing.

Laura Linton, a spokesman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, said Rhone also faces murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses in connection with the Williams killing.

John H. Kundts, an FBI spokesman, said Rhone was being sought on a federal warrant issued in August 1976 charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Rhone had been free on $50,000 bail when he became a fugitive.

For 13 years, the FBI had traced his path up and down the East Coast without ever catching up to him. Within the last two weeks, Kundts said, agents began receiving "increased information" that Rhone was back in Philadelphia.

"We've been seeking this guy for 13 years now," Kundts said. "We've had strong information that he was out of the city, most notably New York City."

Dawson and Hoskins were first convicted of the Williams killing in 1976, but they won a new trial in 1979 on the grounds of police and prosecutorial misconduct. It was while they were out on bail awaiting their second murder trial that they allegedly took control of the Black Mafia.

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