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Alleged drug deal killers go before judge
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Two of the men charged in connection with the June murder of Kawasikis Ricks appeared in court Thursday for a bond hearing.

Clarence Benton's motion for bond was denied while Brandon Hudnal's was approved and set at $200,000.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Layla Hinton argued against bond for Benton based on his extensive history of juvenile crimes. The suspect's first run-in with the law occurred in 2003. Since that time he has been arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, bringing a weapon onto school grounds and various other minor offenses.

While Hinton presented her case to the judge, Benton repeatedly rolled his eyes at her comments. Several times Benton turned to stare at Hinton and shook his head in disagreement.

Benton's lawyer Anthony Carter argued Benton would not be a threat if released on bond and that his juvenile record should not sway the judge's decision.

"In view of those delinquent acts, how can you say that?" Judge Marvin Sorrells asked.

Carter also disputed the testimony of witnesses who had conflicting statements, he said. Hinton rebutted, pointing out a recording police have of a woman who called 911 to report a possible drug deal next door. Hinton said the woman described the correct number of victims and suspects. During the 911 call, Hinton said the gunshot can clearly be heard as the woman is talking to the operator.

The shooting reportedly occurred after a double cross drug deal. Ricks and another man reportedly thought they were going to buy 20 pounds of marijuana from a group of five men, including Benton, but the would-be dealers never intended to sell any drugs. Instead, they reportedly intended to rob the two men.

Hinton said Benton was present when Tervarius White allegedly shot Ricks in the back with a shotgun as the man tried to flee the scene. White was scheduled to appear in court for bond hearing Thursday, but withdrew the motion before the start of court.

Benton, 17, was previously charged with aiding and abiding in the shooting death of 15-year-old Martia Logan. Hinton said police suspect Benton hid Robert Broughton while he was on the run after the murder. Benton is also reportedly suspected of helping Broughton dispose of the murder weapon.

Sorrells later set bond at $200,000 for Hudnal, 20, who was allegedly the getaway driver on the night of the murder. Hudnal is charged with party to the crime of armed robbery, Hinton said he could be charged with felony murder at a later date. Unlike Benton, Hudnal did not have a criminal history.

During the hearing, it was revealed that Hudnal's cell phone allegedly had pictures of White with the money stolen from Ricks. Hinton said Hudnal told police when White had returned to the car after the shooting, White said, "I burned him."

In other court news, Broughton was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday for a motion status hearing, but the hearing was delayed until September. Judge John Ott will preside over Broughton's trail was supposed to direct the hearing Thursday, but could not attend for personal reasons. The hearing was rescheduled for a time Ott was available. Broughton's hearing had previously been delayed twice due to conflicts with his lawyer's schedule.