By Freeman staff
KINGSTON >> Death threats, witness accounts and surveillance video amount to sufficient evidence to support the conviction of a conspirator in the gangland killing of Charles “C.J.” King Jr. in 2010, a state appeals court ruled Thursday, according to the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office.
Jermaine “Maino” Nicholas, 26, who was convicted of felony conspiracy on Oct. 11, 2011, after a jury trial, appealed the conviction, claiming “hearsay statements of his co-conspirators, which included numerous jail calls, should not have been admitted into evidence at the trial because the prosecution could not sustain a conspiracy case without those hearsay statements,” DA Holley Carnright said.
Nicholas was one of seven people tied to the 2010 shooting death of King in Midtown Kingston.
In its decision, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court, Third Department, unanimously affirmed the conviction, refuting Nicholas’ claims regarding hearsay statements and his contention that “police lacked probable cause to arrest him without a warrant in his home,” Carnright said.
The decision noted that prior to Nicholas’ arrest, Amanda “Blazer Bitch” Miller had given statements to police indicating Nicholas called her phone to alert the gang members to King’s whereabouts and that a tenant in Nicholas’ apartment consented to the police entry to find Nicholas the morning after the killing.
King, 21, was gunned down in February 2010 on Cedar Street in Kingston in an execution-style hit that authorities said was planned from inside the Ulster County Jail by Jarrin “Phat Boy” Rankin because King was a prosecution witness in a case against Rankin.
Rankin, a member of the Sex, Money, Murder gang, a subset of the Bloods, had been charged with shooting Crips gang member Curtis “Black” Williams in the face in November 2009 on Henry Street in Midtown Kingston undefined a shooting that King witnessed.
In the weeks following Rankin’s arrest, Rondy “Ski” Russ attempted to locate King, who had testified in grand jury proceedings against Rankin and was expected to testify against him at trial. In mid-January 2010, Russ threatened King’s father, compelling him to disclose C.J. King’s whereabouts, authorities have said.
Russ subsequently was jailed for a probation violation, and authorities said Trevor “Little T” Mattis, Rankin’s half-brother, took over the gang’s efforts to track down King.
On Feb. 9, 2010, Mattis fatally shot King in the back of the head after Nicholas summoned Mattis and Gary “G-Money” Griffin to a deli on Cedar Street where King was seen.
Mattis and Griffin both were convicted of first-degree murder and are in prison for life, with no chance for parole.
Nicholas is serving a 25-year prison sentence as a result of his convictions in this case and will be eligible for parole in 2031.