Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

Urban Legend (Gregory Ross)

Urban Legend (Gregory Ross)

Wed, 17 Nov 2021 08:00

A brutal homicide in a basement strikes fear in the neighborhood. Sometimes it’s not the ‘by Who’ that’s the main mystery, but rather, ‘to Who’ and the ‘Why.’

Listen to Episode

Copyright © audiochuck

Read Episode Transcript

If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. Before we get started today, we do want to give you a graphic warning about today's podcast because we will be discussing a very vicious murder. I'm going to ask you some questions about something that occurred on December 9th, 1987 in Brooklyn, NY. Did you know the dead guy? OK, so you saw the deceased lay down on the floor, his arms and legs tied behind him. Describe what we he was doing. Yeah, this is the victim you elected. So he was saying, please, yeah. No. What did you see when you went down to the cellar that second time? Body with no head. The body with no hand. I've got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sigga Nicolazzi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation Discovery's true conviction and this is anatomy of murder. As we prepare for today's episode, the phrase kept coming to mind. A neighborhood in fear. And for the episode, we are going back to Brooklyn, to Bedford Styvesant, which is a beautiful, historic neighborhood in Brooklyn filled with brownstones, it has bustling nightlife, and it's easily accessible to Manhattan. And these days it's a relatively nice, safe place to live. But back in 1987, crime was at a high, and brutal violence made it an extremely dangerous place to live. The violence, the shootings and the homicides were always up pretty violent. And for today's episode, I spoke with retired Detective Mike Pratt, who I've known for years, to get some insight into a particularly gruesome crime. And it was such an unusual case that it actually became urban legend. You know, I love the way the NYPD and also the FDN Y. The fire department describe busy precincts or busy firehouses for firefighters. They call it turning a wheel. That means that the fire engines always going out and always working, and a busy Firehouse. So. Less than how Mike describes the seven, nine at the time he was there. It was considered an A house for us back in the day a houses were really active houses just based on the amount of crime and violence. But here's the thing. When you grow up in an area like that, or certainly when there's a lot of high crime, parents have to watch their children differently. Kids need to watch themselves differently. While you need to be vigilant everywhere, there is a pervasiveness of the threat that follows you everywhere, and that is exactly what families face every time they let their children out of their house, whether it was to go to school, play with a friend, or go somewhere else. There was a school PS44. Really was the left side of the block, and now on the right side of the block were brownstones. It was a pretty violent block. And the crime in the city really factors in what happened on December 10th of 1987 in that neighborhood picture that morning, it was like so many other mornings. There are kids running the streets late for school. Here you have kids cutting through the big field on their way to school that morning. And it was on that morning in 1987 on that walk to school would be far from normal for those kids. Towards the back of the school, there was a dumpster, and lying right next to the dumpster was a garbage bag. One kid actually comes across this garbage bag with a body in it. A body. Think about the traumatizing thing for anyone of us to make that find. And here you have it, basically in the back of a schoolhouse left for children elementary school children to find. I always think of it from the eyes of, you know, what would my kids think? What an incredibly horrific fine for anyone. We have the crime scene photos, obviously we don't share them, but we're able to take a look at the crime scene as the body was found by those children. And you know, without describing it all, it is horrific to even look at with the experience that we have in all the years we've had on the job. And so the children quickly notified a school custodian who didn't even know if what they saw in the bag was human or just a large animal. It was really that disfigured or just not so clear. But he knew not to touch it. So what he did is called 911. And while all of you can imagine how shocking it is to see any dead body, and I can certainly say that that is the case for myself, no matter what condition they were in, this one, as Scott said, was particularly gruesome. Uniform patrol response and here now they have a garbage bag containing a body breast covered in blood. Missing 90% of the head. You know Scott for yourself. Just when you think about a body that has been left mutilated like this one, what comes to mind? A very personal crime, clearly. But it raises so many questions about the body in a bag next to a dumpster. Why not in the dumpster? So that would be my first question. So there is a sloppiness about it or a brazenness about it. And remember, this is not a body that is dug out from a field or in a ditch. Or in a forest that was hard to be found. It is laying only partially in a dumpster in the back of the school. And that to me says something about the killer or the people that moved this body that is going to be very interesting to figure out the what, why and who. So as uniform officers are beginning to set up their crime scene, the first thing they notice is a trail of blood and a trail of blood that led from the body away from the body. So what does that mean? They are able to walk back the blood trail from the rear of the school across the street to our building on Madison St in a lot of these stories we talk about, you know, DNA forensics technology, digital forensics. Those are incredible tools. But here are some really old fashioned police footwork, what we call gumshoe work. And when detectives would follow this blood trail, it would take them to a building, to a basement. Where this homicide investigation would really heat up? So now we're going across the street, following around the side of the building to the rear of the building. They go downstairs, the blood is all up and down the stairs, and they go into the basement where there's a large pool of blood, a chair, a bloody axe, and two people sleeping in the basement. I think this is worth repeating. Just these sentences. Blood up and down the stairs. They're in the basement. There's a chair, a bloody axe, and two people sleeping in that very basement. I mean, that is not a group of words that would normally go together, but that is your crime scene. This is apparently where this person was murdered. And could these sleeping people be your best witnesses, or could they be your killers? Now you have a pretty large crime scene, so you actually have where the body versus recovered and now possibly the place that that crime was committed. So walking into a scene like that, you have to approach it first by securing that potential weapon, which is an axe. You want to make sure you get that out of the way, that nobody can grab it. So it's officer safety first. At the same time, you're trying to preserve the crime scene. It's a bloody crime scene. You don't want to be walking all around. Footprints, handprints, fingerprints, blood attaches to all of that. And then at the same time, you want to see if these two people who are sleeping are actually sleeping, and they don't need medical attention because. Potentially they have overdosed, so this is like sort of a incredible storm of events happening in one picture. The basement is kind of like shooting gallery where people would go downstairs to use drugs. Shooting galleries. The term on the streets dates back to the 70s, where you'd find these abandoned buildings or apartments or even alleys where heroin addicts would be shooting heroin and often passing out with the needle still in their arms. The two individuals that were found in the basement were high. It took some amount of waking them up for them to even become coherent, so once the two witnesses are brought into the presentation house, they determined that they want to take a statement. And then, but these two people were still under the influence of drugs in fact. So once police were able and it took hours to get them in any condition to give a statement, boy did they give a statement. You tell me what happened on December 9th, 1987, and here's some of the interviews with the witnesses downstairs. I see both. On the floor. OK, so you saw the deceased? Lay down on the floor, his arms and legs tied behind him, like he got to me and I just left. OK, so you said you were about faced and left and left out, left out of the cellar. What did you see when you went down to the cellar that second time? Body with no head. The body with no hand. They said that not only did they witness the murder, but someone paid them to move that body from that shooting gallery, that building, and drag it across the street and place it in the dumpster. The individual on the top floor who's now asking other people to to move the body from the cellar. The person who runs the shooting gallery who's like, hey, we can't have this body in here. You guys can't get rid of this. OK. Because it would interfere with business, with this craft business, OK. I took up the offer, OK? You said you had nowhere else to go, and so you took up the offer to help move the body. For the witnesses moving a dead body and leaving it, it could be considered a crime. It is a crime. I mean, right? Absolutely. As you are tampering with evidence, you are potentially involved after the fact. There's multiple crimes, so in the middle of the night they struggled to move this dead body up the stairs. OK, how did you move the body? Part. Put it in the shopping cart wielded across the street. Did you put the body in the dumpster or what they were told was to put the body into the dumpster and they just won strong enough. So you put the body down and you put panel boards you sent over top of that? Now here's something we should all keep in mind. If it made it into that dumpster, and then if it had been carted away by sanitation, it would been taken to the city dump. And from there either. It would have been eventually just lost as other waste was put on top of it. But it would have been very difficult and sometimes close to, if not actually impossible to find. You know, to be honest, if that body would have made its way into the dumpster, we might not even be having this conversation today. And now the next thing is that these are the witnesses that at least at this point investigators have potentially prosecutors are left with. These were not pristine witnesses. There are witnesses, but they're very hard to interact with and the state that they're in and the influence that they're under based on the narcotics is definitely going to bring their credibility, their reliability into question. That, but the one thing is the evidence is matching their statement. They told investigators that they dragged the body and they carried it and they left it outside the dumpster and they were found after the crime sleeping in that basement. So would they really know that information about where the body was, how the body was left, what condition it was in and the blood trail had it not been true? So for me there reliability factor comes up a few notches, but one of the initial questions you have. Ask is are they being truthful or are they covering up for something they did that was much more than just move the body? Have you heard any rumors in the neighborhood as to who might have killed this person whose body brought to the dumpster? Have you heard anybody referred to by their street name? During the First Witness interview with police, they were able to get the nickname or street name of the killer known in the neighborhood. Shuffle, shuffle. It was chadbourne. That was the nickname that everyone mentioned, Chadbourn. His name was shipborne, but his name was actually Louis Emmanuel. Cell phone. Two other fellows. Sherborn and a couple of other people drive up in the car and they had a guy who was tied up behind his back and was screaming and covered in blood. Now it's coming up next is, and I'm putting it mildly, extremely graphic, and we're going to use the same rule that I always use in the courtroom is you hold back certain things, even from the jury, that are overly gruesome or graphic. For example, I never showed crime scene photographs of the actual body unless the jury needed to see them one, because jurors, people don't want to actually see that. However, if it was necessary for an piece of evidence or to prove something the way something happened or where, then of course I would. But for the same. Reasons. Here we are going to give you those details because you can't really understand the magnitude of the crime, the type of crime, the brutality, and how that all plays in unless we tell you exactly what happened from there. They walked them downstairs into the basement and sat them in a chair. OK, what was he doing? Describe what we he was doing. This is the victim now. Yeah, this is the victim. He was like this. Please, this is an interview with another witness who was in the building. So he was saying please, yeah, he had his hand cramps like this. 3/3. And the whole time the guy was screaming, please and no, and don't do this to me. You're extremely young. Working. No, no, that was it, she heard the guy saying. No, no, immediately before you heard the chainsaw going through something there. So the guy was alive until they put him there the chainsaw, OK. Why keep thinking is what type of a person is capable of such acts? Because Detective also believed that this person was alive when they began to use the chainsaw, and that right there is almost more than our minds should be able to bear. And at some point, Sheboygan and the other people that he was with forced everyone to leave the basement, the witness says. He goes outside and they're peeking in the window. Sharkboy turn on the floor. What kind of saw was that? Long saw that you saw the tree. I guess there was no. No plug, no plug. And it was a long saw. Yeah, it was long. Alright. If you don't think the crime could get more gruesome, it can. Further in their investigation, detectives learned that at some point the chainsaw ran out of gas and they had to finish it with an axe. So there was a hatchet inside the basement. Yeah. I mean, not to be too graphic, but you have to in your mind, picture them using the chainsaw to cut through the head. Which is really going on an angle through the neck and then we believe that maybe the final plots they just use that act. Some way to kill someone. It is a horrific way to die. And half hour later, shipborne and the people come out of the basement and they have a bag that they're holding up above their head and they get back in the car and they leave. Hear that? I feel three things. I'm horrified, obviously, by the whole story. I'm angry not only at the person who did this, but even anyone that would have anything to do with what happened. But I also just feel sad. It is an incredible story, but it also, as I said before, matches the evidence and when the police heard the name Shipbourne, they knew two things. One, he was a person that needed to be gotten off the streets as quickly as possible, and two, this was not going to be an open and shut investigation. Of course, this case originally were top notch guys. Through their notes you could see that they knew shop one as being a major drug dealer who controlled the area. He was a very dangerous guy in Bedford Styvesant and police were anxious to see him behind bars. Detectives knew him to be a mid level drug dealer in the neighborhood involved in the narcotics trade. For quite a while he was a menacing figure who protected his turf and ruled that turf with fear. He parted. He lived on the other side of the schoolyard. And so police know who the killer is, where he might be, right? Did you know the dead guy? You know? But there's one thing that no one knows. Did you know the name of the deceased? Who's the victim? About what happened on December 19th. And why was he murdered? The first eyewitness to give detailed account of what he saw on the street that day well laid out one of the most graphic crimes we've talked about. A turn in the investigation would come once our John Doe body was brought to the medical examiner's office and investigators were able to lift latent prints from that body and John Doe had a name. So they're able to do fingerprint. And the victim had had a rap sheet. He had been arrested before, so his fingerprints come up. Gregory Roth. Gregory Ross was a 28 year old veteran from the Bronx who served in the National Guard. He had served his country, he had come back, he had fallen into hard times, little drug usage, and he was basically hustling for money. And here is yet another facet of that addiction you have someone who served their country and part of. Whatever it was during their service that they came back and just had a really tough time and had definite struggles at that point with narcotics that from everything we know he had not had before. How sad is it that Gregory struggle put him in such a vulnerable place? So whatever issues he may have had, he's a victim and that's the way investigators would treat him with regards to this brutal homicide. For me, I always reflect on the victim, right? Because the victim is a victim. He's not even from Brooklyn. Back in the late 80s, early 90s, he always saw people in the street corners. They were washing windows. We just call them squeegee guys, but that's how he was hustling. And hearing Mike used the term squeegee guy. You know, if you haven't lived in New York or you didn't live in New York back in the late 80s and then the 90s, you've probably at least seen them on TV. It's literally the people are usually men, for whatever reason, that would come up to your window with the squeegee and would clean your window with the hopes of getting some change or a dollar, whatever they could to help support themselves. The thing that wasn't making sense to detectives is why Gregory Ross, what was the motive for all you out there? You might think that because Gregory had a history of. Substance misuse and what investigators knew about shipbourne that this homicide had to do with drugs. But the truth is, the motive is far from that. Detectives found a witness, a person who knew Sherborn well, and one day the two were hanging out and shipborne told this witness what had happened and this is what he said. Yeah, didn't take someones head to a certain person. And the person the reason he had to do this was because that he had sold some cocaine or using the product and selling cocaine and when she was delivering it to the girlfriend was delivering the cocaine. I guess they they put guns out her belly and she was pregnant at the time and they took the drugs from her and they took the drugs from her. But had led up to all of this is that Chadbourne's girlfriend had actually gone to his supplier to pick a large amount of drugs for him and that she was supposedly robbed before she even got it back to Sherborne. Those drug dealers had taken his girlfriend hostage and threatened to kill her. This guy had taken his girlfriend hostage with his girlfriend hostage and I'm not sure if he took his partner too, but I believe it's both of them. He only way he could free his girlfriend was he had to bring him. Bring these people the money for the drugs that were lost or the head of the person that stole it. Let's bring to this supplier of drugs the head of the person who ripped them off in the drug deal. Yes. So what you're born did was choose the head of an innocent man. But detectives discovered was mind boggling. She was abducted out of the brass, he was washing windows and just happened to come up to this subject's car and they forced him in, beat him at gunpoint and cut his head off. Simply, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is totally just an anonymous guy, random person grabbed off the street based on convenience and brought down here. So now you have potentially another witness, somebody shipborne spoke to in jail, the jail house informant. And that is somebody that you want to immediately get in and get on tape and bring that evidence to your prosecutor, who hopefully will use that to move this case forward. You try to get the witnesses. There's a whole bunch of different investigative steps you have to do, whether it be getting their statement down, getting DA's office, somebody to come down to audio them. How strong of a case would that, bill that I see you? So what you have is, yes, of course, you have a victim who's now named. You have these various witnesses who have been taped at different times, and they've actually named the killer and they have the suspect who's actually known to the police. So why you think it's time to make an arrest and what you're going to learn is that that was going to prove much harder than expected. Detectives tried to round up all of their witnesses and build their case. Happened on the 10th. You had people being interviewed on the 12th on the 29th of December, being brought down to the DA's office. And so while you're waiting, detectives are being tactical. They just want to kind of keep tabs on their main suspect. And so how they do that in New York City at the time, it's called an I card. It's an investigative mechanism. It was literally a card at the time that law enforcement would put out. And that it would say that if this person comes into contact with law enforcement, that then that other agency would let the detectives know, hey, I have your person here. It might be witnesses that they're looking for. It might be, in this case, a suspect. And it's all. They weren't necessarily. Making a move it would let you keep tabs while you were trying to build your case. But remember, this isn't the days before the Internet. And I thought that drops in 1988 is not like a computer notification or an e-mail like we're all used to. And somebody doesn't get it on their phone right away. Somebody would call the office and if nobody picked up the phone, nobody would get a notification. And while waiting for somebody from a different squad or a different precinct or even a different borough to let you know they're in contact with either your witnesses or potential, your suspect obviously have to be patient, but you really want that phone to ring and you really want to know especially where your witnesses are because they're the ones you need to get in and to firm up that case. So waiting for that I carry contact could be frustrating, but here, because you couldn't locate the witnesses at a given moment, it legitimately was. Chaotic. To try and locate some of these people. You did not want to bring in Sherborn and go through a case giving him all the details that you know for him to be like, I ain't saying nothing. And then you have to release him back. You've made him smarter as he's walked out the door. You want to do a single lineup, right? You don't want to do multiple lineups. So you may get an ID card call for one of your witnesses, but you still don't know where the other three or four are, and you also don't want to bring him in, because constantly. Bringing him in is going to give his defense counsel the ability to say that you're harassing him. So what you need to do is you find your one eye card witness, you put them on ice and you wait till you get all of them together, and then you bring them all in at one time to do your live lineup all in one swift move. And that prevents any issues with defense counsel saying, you know what, you're harassing. My client. Shipborne got locked up in December 12th. We had an ID card that was issued for him again on January 20th. He was locked up on February 1st. I mean, he just kept getting locked up, 8889, multiple different arrests, but again, witnesses couldn't be found at the time of his arrest and the decision was made, well, let's not go after him at that point. And so the case goes cold. But one issue may be really preventing your witnesses from really showing themselves. And not just the police, but just to anybody in that neighborhood. Because Bedford Stuyvesant was a neighborhood in fear. You had a suspect who almost was becoming a legend on the street because he took somebody down to a basement, strapped him to a chair. And cut their head off with a chainsaw. And if that doesn't reverberate in Bedford Stuyvesant, that he is a guy who means business. I don't know what does. Think about just the legend of somebody being known to cut someone's head off with a chainsaw, right? Think about the fear that that provokes. Once witnesses realize that they may be in danger, how difficult do you think it would be to get somebody to talk? That's true. Domestic terrorism. Let's Fast forward to 2003 when Mike Pratt and his partner decide this was going to be the cold case, that they would open up around 2003. I've now been promoted to detective and I've moved into the seven, nine squad and I was assigned to the Homicide Shooting team, but we also maintained the cold cases that were down in the basement. His partner came to him with the box and said this is the story about Gregory Ross. Everyone in the precinct station House knows about this. It's kind of been an urban legend. Case in Bedford Stuyvesant, I think, he said to Mike Pratt, we can solve this case. So together they dusted off that box and they began to dig in. But let me tell you a few things about Mike Pratt. He is the type of detective that whenever he walked into your office he might, you know, have a joke to tell and a light word to say. But then it was down to business and he always had his file that was pretty meticulously organized. He is exactly the type of detective that you would want on a case, an age-old case, a decades old case like this. And when cases go cold, it takes a certain type of investigator to rework those cases. When you dig into these files, you look for discrepancies, discrepancies, and witness statements or locations or other things that may speak to you in this file. And that takes a tremendous amount of patience and a tremendous amount of legwork. But this was 2003. Once we began to come forward, you realize that there was so much like you could pick up a case in January, find all the evidence submitted for DNA, and then by the end of the year you were getting some type of results back if you could move forward. Because remember what this case was and what it wasn't? It wasn't a whodunit. They already had various witnesses saying exactly who had committed the crime. So the real legwork was going to be trying to reassemble those witnesses, many of whom were going to prove very difficult to find. And it was technology that was just maybe going to change the game. There's public records tools that are out there that you could really rebuild the neighborhood and see everyone who was associated at a building going back to the late 80s. Each one of those people that were never interviewed becomes a potential lead or witness. Mike Pratt calls it rebuilding the neighborhood, and I've always loved hearing him talk about that because I think it's such a unique approach and I think it is a excellent investigative tool. So while technology gave them many new leads, those new leads actually led them at a state. So they had to reassemble people, some of whom had been struggling with narcotics addiction at the time, who they found out had actually put themselves right into rehabilitation even soon after the crime. And then afterwards they had basically gone off the grid to start a new life. This event shook them so much that they went into rehab for a year and you know when you go into rehab nobody knows where you are and when they came out they just went off the grid. And the other challenges were physically reassembling this file that had spanned 4 decades. At this point, it wasn't a case that was going to rely on DNA. You had to see if your evidence still existed. You know, evidence is stored in this huge place in New York City or at least one of the places called Pearson Place. And when I say huge, you know, it's like warehouses of this stuff. And we are talking about 20 years worth of crime and what is held in New York City when I went to retrieve all of this different stuff because now. You know, in the late 2000s, now you're able to do all kinds of DNA stuff. Right now. It's like magic. It was really hard to find some of the crime scene stuff because of contamination at the warehouse, contamination with other crime scene bags. There was a giant flood that flooded out all of Pearson Place. So think of all of the investigative evidence that you lose at that point. But now it's come back to something else. This is the crime that had become. Urban legend over the last 20 years, and that is going to factor very much into the work that detectives have to do to try to reassemble this case. When you spoke to the old timers over the course of this investigation, people are like, yeah, I heard about that. And of course everybody has their own version. If they weren't there, they heard of it. And it really was a legend throughout the neighborhood. Over the years, we must have backed to speak to people eight or nine times. So just picture Detective Mike Pratt and his partner in a room at the 79. The cold case boxes are open and all the folders are on the table and they're going through each D5, which is an incident report that's been filled out by the original investigators back in 1987 or any supplements that are part of it. And they're looking to find and then validate those witnesses because in a sense, if you're going to present information back from 1987 to a prosecutor in 2003. You have to make sure that person you're talking about is still alive. It is a time consuming, arduous process, but they have to check every box dot every I and cross every T. We went through each detective DD5 and answered with a new one. So, hey, it was thought in 2003, where does witness #1 live? Oh, witness #1 passed away in 1990. Well, then I would have to go through the whole process of making sure that I could truly account that that person somebody's not just telling me they died. When I come to the DA's office, you're going to ask for the proof. But how important really is it between the investigator, detective and a prosecutor to really move a case forward for prosecution? You know, certainly detectives that I have very good relationships with. And Mike will, I think, would affirm this, that sometimes I'm not going to tell him what he wants to hear. I'm not going to be ready to make that arrest because of what I see is going to potentially be a problem in a courtroom, although he may think otherwise because of the case that he's been building for some time. So you have to have that good relationship sometimes to push the case forward. By helping the other side with Shepard is see it your way or not, or when there are those tensions to get past them for the good of the case, I'm going to be responsible throughout that whole part of the Diaz office to bring my witnesses down. So the pieces are being put together, and detectives finally get the green light to proceed with the DA. But there's only one problem. Shipborne had gone to jail, but now he's missing. The last thing detectives knew about Sherborn's whereabouts was that he was in prison. Shipborne had been locked up on a federal narcotics conspiracy in North Carolina. He had been sentenced to a substantial amount of time, but when Detective Crate went into the federal inmate locator, he just wasn't there. We knew he was locked up. We knew who he was doing federal time, right, which is always a home run because he's not on the street, he can't hurt anybody. He's in federal custody, but he disappeared in custody, disappeared. Now, Anna Sigga, how do you think that could be possible? I don't think he just disappeared into the federal system. It's not like, **** he vanished. Very likely it's that he isn't showing up on paper or in the system because federal authorities don't want him to be found. And so the first thing I'm thinking is, is he involved with something else so that they are keeping his whereabouts a secret? So now we're bringing everybody together. We've been able to find and locate the witnesses that we believe we need, and now we can't find. Or guy. So detectives reach out to their federal partners and say, hey, off the record, where is shipborne? I know he's supposed to be in your system, but we can't find him. And the whispers came back in a phone call. One of those weird ones where you like somebody gives you a phone call and says to you, hey, I just want to give you a heads up. Your guy is in custody, but he's in WITSEC, and nobody's going to admit that he's in WITSEC. So witness security protection at the federal level. That is the thing that you see in the movies. So many different steps are taken to protect the identity of various witnesses. And in this case, they found out that shipborne or Lewis Emanuel had become a federal witness while in custody after being proffered. If someone is being proffered by federal authorities, they are expected to talk about every single thing they have ever done and every single thing that they know about. And of course I am talking about different crimes. And when I say everything, I mean everything. It is amazing what you read on these reports that people will admit to because the deal is going to be this if you are going to ultimately cooperate in a case. Which is exactly why someone's proffered is that the feds think they have built the case against you usually and that they are potentially going to allow you to plead guilty or to become a witness, but only if you tell them everything you know and admit to everything you've done. And if you do that, then those sins, if you will, will be forgiven. Obviously, in the legal sense that it is all part of the open record. Your plea deal is your plea deal, and that's the end of it. So now the idea is like, wow, he's a federal witness. He was prompted. He must have told the US attorney down in Florida what happened. This is a ground ball now, right? This is a closure for sure. However, here's the hitch, if there is anything. You have left out, well, then all deals are off the table, so there is a lot riding on what is said in those rooms. During those interviews, we call the US Attorney's Office. They've refused to even acknowledge that he is in custody again because he's in WITSEC and I speak to a US attorney and I explained to him the story and he says, yeah, I'm not familiar with any of that. Are you sure you're looking at the right guy? And then Mike Pratt, to his credit, set to the guy. Listen, Chadbourn is going to stand trial in Brooklyn for that murder. He's going to be charged. That could blow up their entire case because he's already now proffered and testified in whatever case they had going on. Now, and I'm going to put this gingerly here, there can definitely be tugs of war sometimes between state authorities and federal authorities are different agencies. And it is because everyone is working with their own objectives. So this push and pull about what happens, whether is he going to be the witness on the one case or the defendant on the other, tensions can definitely rise. But I can tell you, certainly in my experience, usually the Feds win this phone call between the US attorney. And Mike Pratt set off a couple of waterfall effects. After that call happened, the US attorney reached out to shipborne, who's his federal witness, and say, hey, is this true? The US Attorney reaches out to him and says to him. Hey, by chance did you cut off somebody's head with a chainsaw and Brooklyn? Because I got these detectives calling me and he's like, I don't want to talk about anything anymore. What happens next is pretty interesting. Shipbourne makes a phone call to a family member back in Brooklyn. And he says detectives are coming from Brooklyn. For me on that thing on Madison, I thought everyone was dead. So Mike Pratt wants access to Sherborn to get a statement, but the US attorney blocks him and would not give him access to interview shipboard. But that doesn't mean that Detective Pratt and his partner don't have the rest of their witnesses now put together and ready to go. And it really is something when I think about all these different people coming together decades later to do what must have been such a difficult thing, coming in and talking about this thing that had kept the entire community. So fearful that no one would talk, no one would speak, it was almost as if that nightmare was ending. As you sat through each of those grand juries or each of those interviews, it really was like time stood still for those people that saw it. What they were truly scared of and what they've always said that they were truly scared of was having to go to trial. Clearly, the fear was still there. He's sitting in a jail in North Carolina, and people in Brooklyn are still fearing shipborne and his associates. Likely. And while he's in jail, his family and friends and associates aren't. And they start to make visits to people that are still in the neighborhood to where they know where they are and they just talk to them and they still fear in them. You gotta remember, once he called back home to say like, Brooklyn detectives are coming for the chainsaw. What his associates did was reached out to everyone they could remember was around that time. So they were almost doing an investigation like we did. Think about the fear those contacts would instill. Now imagine walking into your office and assiga and knowing that your witnesses are teetering on their decision to actually testify to come into court. For them, the fear is so real that they may not even show up. At what point do you start to weigh that balance between can I take this to trial if I have no witnesses? Will the case have to be dropped? Or do you go into a mode of how do I get you born in the courtroom and get some justice for Gregory Ross and his family? For me, it would definitely come down to this. It's now or never. But that doesn't mean that you don't realize the potential problems at trial. Partner maintained a very close relationship with Gregory Ross's brother all along, always telling both detectives he wanted justice for his brother. A prosecutors were very concerned about the witnesses, and they really only had witnesses that no DNA or really no other critical evidence. So the decision was made to allow shipborne to take a plea deal. Annual shipborne. Now with Gray hair, 53 years old. Pled guilty to manslaughter. So nearly 24 years after murdering Greg Ross with a chainsaw, shipborne Louis Emmanuel will serve two to six years behind bars, two to six years and NSC Guy. I know how I feel about that, and I'm sure you feel similarly. Anyone here it is going to say two to six, only two to six. But I can tell you without talking about the exact circumstances of this plea, you know, we know about the challenges. We know from Mike Pratt and everything. We've read that prosecutors were very involved with Gregory Ross's family and that they were very worried what would happen if they took this case into the courtroom. Would they ever get the witnesses that so feared, not only Louis Emmanuel Sherborn, but his family and associates that were still out there on the street? They didn't know if they'd ever show up in court. But no, there's no way to say that that was a sentence that was in any way commensurate with the crime that he had committed to Gregory Ross. It is certainly not the justice we all think that is deserved or appropriate for the crime. Taking a 10,000 foot view of this case may be easier, and as it is with many cases, it's really looking at all of the elements in these cases and deciding what is the best way to proceed. Always keeping in mind the end game is your best attempt to get justice for the victim. This family wanted justice. They were involved and the DA's office, at least I can tell you at this case, was very involved with them. Who would have even thought that all these years later that, you know, somebody would be held accountable? We often talk about motive, means and opportunity in these homicide investigations and I cannot myself remember any case. Where the opportunity was so random and the reason for the murder so incredibly callous. And Gregory Ross? Wrong time, wrong place. Of course. Does any human deserve to be treated like this? Of course not. He was a person who served his country and then fell on hard times, was brutally, horrifically murdered, but that he is not forgotten. Mike pratte. His colleagues made clear that Gregory Ross mattered, and it was a really a total team effort in this case that none of them would stop until they got answers and at least some amount of accountability of justice for Gregory Ross. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Forseti Media. Ashley Flowers and Summit David are executive producers. This episode was produced by Phil Jean Grande. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve? Umm.