Charged in six slayings, feds to seek death penalty against EC man
BY Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com March 6, 2013 8:20PM
Updated: April 8, 2013 8:07AM
Federal attorneys will seek the death penalty against an East Chicago man they say killed six people in a wave of gang violence during the past decade.
Juan “Tito” Briseno, an alleged leader of the Imperial Gangsters in East Chicago, is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 21 on a conspiracy to racketeer count, 12 murder counts and four attempted murder counts, among others.
The government says in the notice, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, that the evidence against Briseno is great enough to show “a sentence of death is justified” if Briseno is convicted.
The notice points out that Briseno will continue as a danger to the community and has shown a willingness to kill people as part of his role in the Imperial Gangsters, something he would likely continue to do.
He has shown “a willingness to take human life and a lack of remorse for his acts of violence and attempted acts of violence as demonstrated by statements that he made following these violent acts,” the notice says.
The announcement comes a year and half after Briseno was arrested in the June 2010 killing of Latroy Howard and more than a year after the case was expanded to other Imperial Gangsters members in a racketeering indictment. Briseno is also accused of killing Luis Ortiz, Michael Sessum, Miguel Mejias, Harris Brown and Miguel Colon since 2007, all as part of his work for the gang.
Briseno has pleaded not guilty in the case.
Defendants charged with certain counts, such as murder in aid of racketeering, can face the death penalty, although the case must first go through a federal board and then has to receive final approval from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.