'Heartless Felons' gang leader found guilty of murder & aggravated robbery

RAW: Julius Webster verdict read in court
Julius Webster convicted of murder. (Source: Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force)
Julius Webster convicted of murder. (Source: Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force)
Julius Webster verdict read. (Source: WOIO)
Julius Webster verdict read. (Source: WOIO)

After about a month of testimony and a week of deliberations, a Cuyahoga County Jury finally reached a verdict in an alleged gang leader's trial.

Julius Webster was found guilty of murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and attempted tampering with evidence.

Jurors reached the verdict around 2:40 p.m. Monday. It was the start of the second full week of deliberations.

The 28-year-old was facing ten counts, including kidnapping and aggravated murder, but was only convicted of four.

Webster was on trial for a carjacking and the robbery and murder of Curtis Leon Marks, Jr., 31. Marks was murdered on August 29, 2013 outside a bar at the corner of E. 70th and Superior in Cleveland.

During Webster's trial Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Astrab ordered additional security and issued strict courtroom rules. SWAT teams even accompanied the jury when they viewed the crime scenes.

Webster was indicted for "participating in a criminal gang" as part of the 'heartless felons" street gang. Prosecutors say this marks only the second time they have used the gang charge.

After the verdict, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty revealed that at least two death threats were made against Judge Astrab during the trial, as well as threats against his family.

As a result, William Hammons has been indicted for retaliation, intimidation and three counts of aggravated menacing. Hammons is also a member of the 'heartless felons' gang.

Hammons is serving life without parole plus 100 years for the rape and murder of 60-year-old Sharon Anderson Norfus in Shaker Heights. He was sentenced by Judge Astrab in 2013.

Prosecutors say Julius Webster is not just a member, but the leader of the 'heartless felons" street gang.

Sentencing for Webster is set for March 10.

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