[from David Dawley, Nation of
Lords pp 172-176]
Bobby became the street leader
and by his recommendation Goat became acting president. Goat was responsible
for the office and Bobby drew in tighter with Jesse Jackson, C.T. Vivien,
and the West Side Community Development Corporation.
With the emergence of CVL as a powerful community organization and with
Bobby in the leadership of the construction demonstrations, the State’s
Attorney targeted Bobby in his war on gangs.
About the time that Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot
and killed by Hanrahan’s raiders in a shoot-out, Bobby Gore was
arrested for a killing on October 25, 1969. According to several people,
the eyewitness only because he killed the man that Bobby was accused of
murdering. But this guy was just another nigger and Hanrahan wanted Bobby
because he was a leader.
During this time, Hanrahan also placed a charge of murder against Leonard
Sengali, the spokesman for the Black P Stone Nation. But this time the
prosecution’s case was so weak that the judge had to instruct the
jury to find the defendant not guilty.
Bobby was arrested on November 14, 1969, and five minutes after he was
indicted a few days later, the State’s Attorney’s secretary
was running to local newspapers with a statement that said the murder
accusation against Gore “disproves the myth about the constructive
activities of gangs and should cause foundations and others to intensify
their scrutiny of persons seeking money from them to make certain those
funds are being used to arm street gangsters or for other idleness.
A man is supposed to be innocent until proved guilty, but Hanrahan announced
his own opinion of the verdict before a jury was even selected.
A friend of Bobby’s, Patrick Murphy, offered to help with the case
until Bobby could find the lawyer of his choice. Murphy developed law
programs as a Peace Corps Volunteer and
had been Director of Urban Affairs for the National League Aid and Defender
Association. Dave brought him in to
defend Vice Lords in other cases, but Murphy accepted this one only to
help prepare the case. The bond hearing was delayed several times by the
state until finally Bobby was refused bail.
Before trial, while Bobby was in the Cook County Jail, Murphy interviewed
witnesses who stated that Clarence Conn killed “Scab,” the
man Bobby was accused of killing. The State’s Attorney’s office
talked with Murphy about this, even though some of these witnesses had
testified before the Grand Jury that they had no knowledge of the killing.
But this was before anybody was arrested and they were trying to protect
Clarence Conn. When Conn fingered Bobby, Murphy tried to find new witnesses.
When the case came up in the first week of January 1970 the defense moved
for a continuance, and on January 26, when the case came up again, the
defense moved for another continuance so that the lawyer Bobby wanted
could enter the case. This lawyer had already been retained with cash.
The court denied the motion and put the case over to January 28. On January
28 the defense was denied another motion and the case was set to January
On January 28 the State’s Attorney’s was notified that the
defendant would request a trial continuance on January 29 because he was
not ready for trial. Murphy told the court on January 29 that he was not
prepared for trial, that he needed more time and that the state had furnished
him a list of witnesses with phony addresses.
The lawyer Bobby wanted for trial, Eugene Pincham, also asked for a continuance
so that he could appeal as co-counsel. He explained that he had recently
been hired as co-counsel, that he had no knowledge of the facts, had not
any of the witnesses, had not read any of the transcripts or prior proceedings
and had not prepared the case for trial.
Bobby told the court he wanted to be represented by Pincham as well as
Murphy and even though he was in jail he wanted a continuance so the lawyers
could get prepared.
Judge Robert J. Downing denied the requests and called the trial for Monday,
February 2, 1970. Pincham told the Judge he could not prepare the case
over a three-day weeken ,
and therefore Bobby would be denied effective counsel and counsel of his
choice. Pincham told the Judge he would not appear in the trial.
When Bobby’s request for a continuance was denied on January 29,
there were 69 indictments pending for trial before the same judge. Bobby
was charged in 2 of the 69 indictments for offenses that were committed
on October 25, 1969. Including the two against Bobby, 5 of the 69 indictments
occurred on October 25. Bobby’s indictments were advanced for trial
ahead of 62 advanced indictments.
Of the 69 indictments, 52 were placed on trial call before Bobby’s
indictments were voted by the Grand Jury. Bobby’s case was advanced
for trial ahead of all these indictments.
Of these 52 pre-Bobby indictments, one murder indictment had been continued
51 times, another 49 times, another 33 times, two more 21 times each,
and two more 11 and 13 times. None of the 52 had been continued less than
3 times- once by the state (December 8, 1969), once by the defendant (January
5, 1970), and once by the court (January 26, 1970). Some of the 14 post-Bobby
indictments had been continued 9 times and none had been continued less
On February 11, 1970 shortly after midnight, an all white jury found Bobby
guilty. On March 10, he was sentenced to twenty-five to forty years in
the state penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois.
From cell 103 at Joliet, Bobby wrote simply: “I didn’t do
this thing they accuse me of.”
To Alderman Collins he wrote that he was “very much hurt at the
way my trial turned out. I was not convicted on the evidence presented
but for belonging to a so-called gang. I am sure the way things went that
the State knew I didn’t kill anybody. There were people who called
the name of the guy who killed this youth. With what was presented during
my trial against Clarence Conn, they had reason enough to at least investigate.
They did not try me on the facts of the case which makes me certain it
was a fix.
“It seems that all the labor CVL put into trying to help our black
youth the best we could was in vain. I feel not that no one believed in
us in the first place. Not one Bootstrap member showed up in court to
even express concern. This also took me back a couple to years when Mr.
Hanrahan and you were out to tour what we were doing. The man told us
we were doing a fantastic job and to keep up the good work. We shook hands
and grinned in each other’s faces. And I see now it was just to
promote his campaign and to fool our people.
“I’m not looking for any more than what my hand calls for.
If I’m wrong, then I don’t belong in prison. But if I’m
not, then why should I be? Is it to protect an image so Hanrahan can further
his career? What about the thousands of kids out there who have no future,
image, or career? What happens to them?
In a letter to Dave, Bobby cried
for his brotherrs. "If I had any idea that ther was going to be a
fight that night, i think i could have stopped it. Had I just stayed on
the corner instead of going down the street, i would have been right there
tostop it. Just the idea of those two Black brothers losing their lives
and the thought of how their families sufered is just about killingme.
"Brother, as you know, I had not gotttenover losing
mysister yet, whichwas the first time this kind of thing hit home for
me, so my feelings must go with thefamilies of those two dead kids. (Bobby's
sister had died in the hospital after complications from a routine operation.)
"You know, Dave, it's odd that I be convicted of the
very thing that I would have gladly given my life to put a complete end
to. But all my life things have been this way for me. I don't really know
why, but I've always been one to worry about others and each time I get
to the place that I can help people, something always happens to cut my
" But the hurting part is how these people sit back
and say we misued the money we received without even coming out to see
how it was being spent. Do they think those places jumped up by themselves?
Don't they realize it took a lot of work by us? Don't they realize we
didn't have any knowledge as to how this venture had to be handled? Instead
of coming out and giving us help and knowledge, they stood back and mad
eup stories about us stealing from ourselves.
"There is no other grass roots group that went as far
as we did without expertise coming from anywhere. One thing that i can
say and that's that i'm proud to have been part of it."
Bobby felt that CVL had taken the hopelessness out of most
of the young cats, and in his letter to all the Lords he urged his brothers
not to give up the fight.
"You cats can make the Lords' name right in the history
books as a group of gangbangers, as they call us, who were knocked to
their knees by the system and wouldn't stay down but came back more powerful
and determined than before to do your thing in the liberation of black
people by refusing to stay down, to prove that given half a chance, you
could do it for yourself.
"Brothers, this is where you live. There's no place
else to go that is not the same. So make what you already have a beautiful
thing. If you suceed, then the system can't deny blacks nothing becasue
what he calls the worst of humans proved him wrong. Never forget, WE ARE