Reputed Leader Of Jbm Goes On Trial In Slaying

Posted: April 05, 1990

Reputed Junior Black Mafia leader Leonard "Bazil" Patterson was portrayed yesterday by a prosecutor as a cold-blooded killer who assassinated a rival

drug dealer over a turf dispute, and by his defense attorney as the victim of a set-up.

"John Tate was selling drugs on the corner of 34th and Wallace Streets, and he was killed because of it," Assistant District Attorney Joel Rosen told the jury.

Defense attorney Daniel M. Preminger agreed that Tate was killed in a drug dispute, but, he said, not by his client. Preminger said his client was in New York when the shooting occurred in April 1988.

Yesterday, almost two years after the execution-style slaying of John Wesley Tate, 25, outside Sam's Bar at 3401 Wallace St., his alleged killer

went on trial in Common Pleas Court.

Patterson, 29, fled with a companion after the shooting and was a fugitive until he was arrested in January 1989, Rosen told the jury.

No other suspect was named during yesterday's proceedings.

What the jury was not told, at the instruction of Judge Lynne M. Abraham, is that Patterson has been identified by law enforcement officials as one of the original, ranking members of the violent network of drug traffickers known as the Junior Black Mafia. Abraham ruled before the trial began that attorneys and witnesses were not to refer to the Junior Black Mafia, or JBM.

"This case is about drugs, and competition between those people who sell drugs over territory, and one lousy (street) corner," Rosen told the jury.

He said Tate was a drug dealer who was shot down in cold blood at 6:30 p.m. April 16, 1988, while he was selling drugs on the street corner.

The day before, Tate had walked up to a rival dealer, at 34th and Wallace Streets, and pulled out a gun, ordering him to stop selling at that location, Rosen said.

The other dealer worked for Patterson, the prosecutor said, and the next day, April 16, Patterson and a companion "came by that corner and emptied their guns into John Tate."

"It was essentially an assassination," Rosen said.

Not so, said Patterson's attorney, who argued that testimony and documentation would show that his client was in New York that day.

"This is a classic set-up," Preminger concluded. "Leonard Patterson should not take the fall for the guys who are still out there."

The prosecutor argued that although there were no eyewitnesses, evidence would prove that Patterson and his companion fired the fatal bullets.

Rosen said that a witness getting in his car a block away at the time of the shooting saw Patterson and the other man get into a dark-colored Oldsmobile with a Georgia license tag and flee the area.

Police later found the getaway car and its owner, Calvin Winn, who said Patterson had told him the day after the slaying, "Yeah, I gadded some guy," meaning "I shot the guy," Rosen told the jury.

"And you'll hear how John Tate before he passed out told the people around him, 'Bazil shot me,' " he said.

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