O-Block gang members convicted in killing of rapper FBG Duck in Gold Coast (2024)

A federal jury Wednesday found six purported gang members guilty of carrying out the brazen 2020 murder of drill rapper FBG Duck in the city’s posh Gold Coast neighborhood.

The jury of five men and seven women, who have remained anonymous due to security concerns surrounding the case, deliberated for about 16 hours over three days before announcing it had reached a verdict, finding the group guilty of murder in furtherance of a racketeering scheme.

FBG Duck was killed in a hail of bullets as he was shopping for his son along the ritzy Oak Street shopping corridor on Aug. 4, 2020.

Prosecutors said the rapper — born Carlton Weekly — was killed as part of a yearslong gang conflict between factions of the Black Disciples and Gangster Disciples on the South Side.

FBG Duck’s mother, LaSheena Weekly, wept as she listened to the jury verdicts in an overflow courtroom at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.

“When I go home and tell my grandkids that their father(‘s) justice has been served, that’s going to be a big burden lifted off my shoulders,” Weekly told reporters after the verdicts were announced. “I just want to thank the United States government for doing a very good job in making sure that these guys will never hurt another mom and another child again.”

Convicted of murder in the aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder were: Charles Liggins, 32; Kenneth Roberson, 30; Christopher Thomas, 24; Marcus Smart, 25; Tacarlos Offerd, 32; and Ralph Turpin, 34.

Liggins, Roberson, Thomas, Smart and Offerd were also found guilty of using a firearm in Weekly’s murder. The verdicts were mixed in the four other counts, which stemmed from wounds suffered by two bystanders also injured in Weekly’s killing.

A life sentence is mandatory for a conviction of murder in aid of racketeering. The sentencing hearings are expected in August and September.

All six defendants are purportedly members or associates of O-Block, a rival faction of Black Disciples based in the Parkway Gardens housing complex named in honor of Odee Perry, a fellow gang member killed in 2011.

In the October 2021 indictment, prosecutors alleged members and associates of “O-Block” traveled from the Parkway Gardens apartment complex at 64th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to Oak Street to find Weekly and kill him.

Security video recorded at Parkway Gardens, along with scores of police surveillance cameras, allegedly shows the defendants traveling to the Gold Coast neighborhood and carrying out the shooting before driving off.

Prosecutors alleged Weekly’s high-profile killing was part of a deadly, yearslong conflict between two South Side gang factions, whose members boasted about their exploits and eliminating rivals through drill rap tracks that often name-dropped specific victims.

But in her closing argument last week, the attorney for the lead defendant, Liggins, accused prosecutors of losing the “ability to distinguish entertainment fantasy from reality,” portraying the South Side rap culture as a lucrative entertainment business.

Even Duck’s diss track “Dead Bitches,” which mocked Liggins’ slain associates in the O-Block gang faction and, according to prosecutors, led to his own fatal shooting, was “good business” for Weekly, as well as his main rival, drill rapper King Von, attorney Cynthia Giacchetti said.

“Part of YouTube promotion is click bait. That’s what this was about,” Giacchetti said in her closing remarks to jurors last week.

And it was making them both rich, Giacchetti said, noting that Von was known for “buying diamonds” for his entire entourage while, on the afternoon of his slaying, Weekly was “shopping at the most exclusive and expensive street in Chicago.”

In rebuttal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Julien said it was actually the defendants who had a problem with reality, displaying on courtroom monitors some of the shooting victims the jury heard about during the racketeering trial, beginning with the 2011 killing of 15-year-old Shondale “Tooka” Gregory at a South Side bus stop.

“He was murdered in real life,” Julien said. “He wasn’t murdered in a recording studio. He’s no longer here.”

Julien also argued most of the defendants, including Liggins, weren’t rappers in their own right, and their social media posts extolling murder and violence weren’t an effort to win any Grammys.

The killings, which occurred over a period of nearly a decade, “culminated for your purposes in the murder of this man,” Julien told the jury, displaying a photo of a smiling Weekly, holding his young son as they stood next to a Paw Patrol character.

On the afternoon of Aug. 4, 2020, Weekly was shopping for a birthday present for his son on East Oak Street when Turpin happened to walk into the same Dolce & Gabbana store and immediately called his gang associates to alert them, prosecutors said.

Although the shooters were wearing masks, several prosecution witnesses identified the defendants in the videos based largely on their clothing and other identifying features.

Attorneys for the six defendants, however, said that none of the identifications were believable, and that most of those witnesses were paid informants and YouTube opportunists who were lying either to save their own skin or to cash in on Weekly’s killing.

“They were the worst witnesses I’ve ever been subjected to,” said Turpin’s attorney, Marc Barnett, who called them alternately profane, disrespectful and untruthful.

“They claimed to know everything about the underbelly of Chicago, but they had nothing to say about Ralph Turpin,” Barnett said.

In his rebuttal, Julien said prosecutors brought in a broad cross-section of witnesses, and if some of them were gang members and violent criminals, it’s because that was the world the defendants lived in and it’s impossible to “fire up the DeLorean” and go back in time and change it.

scharles@chicagotribune.com

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com

O-Block gang members convicted in killing of rapper FBG Duck in Gold Coast (2024)

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