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Saturday, 16 October 2010

known as "stain" in the world of the Bloods street gang

11:21 |

known as "stain" in the world of the Bloods street gang, Ocean County Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone argued to a jury on Friday.

That teenager, Anthony Skyers, 18, was executed on June 5, 2008, shot twice in the head, once at almost point-blank range, and his body found the next day on a wooded trail near the High Point Condominiums in Lakewood by a young man taking a shortcut through the woods, Weatherstone said.

Gangs at the Jersey Shore
Weatherstone argued Thigpen, now 34, of Robersonville, N.C., came to Lakewood and executed Skyers at the behest of a high-ranking member of the Bloods to gain entry, respect and status in the gang.

That gang member, Dyshon Ragland, 24, of Lakewood, who has a murder charge pending against him, wanted Skyers dead because he mistakenly thought Skyers was snitching on him to police about a robbery at a Subway sandwich shop in Toms River that February, at which Skyers was present, the assistant prosecutor said.

"Dennis Thigpen killed Anthony Skyers because Anthony Skyers was a steppingstone," Weatherstone said in his closing argument to the jury in the trial of Thigpen before Superior Court Judge Francis R. Hodgson.

Thigpen is charged with Skyers' murder, conspiring with Ragland to commit the murder and possessing a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

"Anthony Skyers was a way for Dennis Thigpen to obtain the status and stain that he deserved . . . from being someone who people took care of to being a leader who earned and deserved respect," Weatherstone said.

The assistant prosecutor noted that Skyers would have turned 21 this past Wednesday.

Defense attorney John Koufos argued there were no eyewitnesses who put Thigpen at the crime scene, no murder weapon recovered and no physical evidence tying his client to the killing.

"What happened that night in the woods is a tragedy. A man's dead. . . ." Koufos told the jury. "But don't compound a tragedy."

Koufos cast suspicion on another gang member, Christopher Brown, who testified that Ragland took him to the woods that night to show him Skyers' body, and he questioned the credibility of a witness — Ragland's girlfriend, Zenobia Jackson — who said Thigpen showed up at her apartment in the High Point complex that night, looking like he had just killed someone.

The defense attorney argued that if a ranking member of the gang wanted someone dead, he would turn to a trusted member to carry it out, not an outsider like Thigpen.

But Weatherstone said the proof that Thigpen carried out the murder for Ragland came from the defendant's own mouth: He bragged about it to other gang members, demanding their respect for having committed the killing.

The jury began deliberating late in the afternoon, but did not yet reach a verdict. The panel will resume deliberations on Monday.

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