Examiner readers' tips lead to capture of deadly duo, police say

Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

Thirty-nine and counting.

That's how many D.C. area fugitives whose arrests have been credited to The Washington Examiner, after two D.C. men charged in the slaying of a rival gang member outside a funeral were taken into custody following tips from readers of The Examiner's print and online editions, the U.S. Marshals Service said Thursday.

Marcellus Jackson, 23, and Keir Johnson, 21, were among seven members of the G-Rod street gang who were charged in an 80-count indictment earlier this month. Five suspects were in custody but Jackson and Johnson remained on the run.

Now they're behind bars thanks to more readers' tips, said D.C. police Detective Christopher Coles, of the Capital Area Fugitive Task Force.

"The Examiner works," Coles said. "Keep it up. There's a whole crew of knuckleheads waiting in the wings in 2012."

Among those arrested and credited to readers of The Examiner:
» Kendrick Phillips. Accused of killing 16-year-old and stuffing body in a closet.
» Lonnie Bowers Jr.: Wanted in a 1997 Suffolk, Va., homicide that had gone unsolved for 12 years. Profiled Dec. 1, captured that morning.
» Ferose Kerry Khan: His 2010 capture helped federal investigators break up what prosecutors say is the largest federal government contracting bribery and kickback scandal in U.S. history.
» Andre Stevenson: Sex offender arrested after commuters reading his profile surround him at bus stop.
» Omar Weaver. The former All-America high school basketball player and D.C. street ball legend was wanted for armed carjacking.

Jackson and Johnson become the 38th and 39th fugitives whose arrests were credited directly to their appearing in The Examiner, federal authorities said. Coincidently, an Examiner reader tip this summer led to the arrest of Johnson's older brother, 25-year-old Irving Johnson, who was wanted in a double homicide in Columbia Heights.

Jackson and Keir Johnson were wanted on charges of first-degree murder in the 2010 killing of 22-year-old Jamal Coates, who was gunned down on U Street after leaving the funeral of another young victim of gun violence. Jackson was also wanted for killing a 19-year-old in Adams Morgan.

On Dec. 12, a story about Jackson and Johnson being on the run appeared in The Examiner. U.S. marshals received a tip that day from someone who saw the story in the paper and told deputies that they needed to look for the pair in the Norfolk, Va., area and across the state line down to around Elizabeth, N.C., said Coles.

Marshals deputies were aware of Jackson's relatives in Norfolk, but the connection to North Carolina was new information, Coles said, and the hunt turned there.

On Monday afternoon, marshals got a tip from a person in North Carolina who had heard that Jackson and Johnson were fugitives, searched their names online and the first link that popped up was to their story on The Examiner's website, Coles said. The tipster directed marshals to a home in Jacksonville, N.C.

The pair tried to escape out the back of the home, but marshals and local police were ready and waiting. The fugitives ducked back inside and holed up for a while before eventually surrendering, authorities said.

Since The Examiner started its Crime & Punishment page in 2008, readers tips have led directly to the arrest of at least 39 fugitives. At least seven were wanted on a charge of or had previously been convicted of homicide, including a man earlier this month who was wanted in a 1997 slaying.

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