MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com)- A hitman took the stand in a massive federal drug trial in Shelby County Wednesday.
Tabius Pride is the first convicted killer involved in Craig Petties’ international drug ring to testify in the trial of Martin and Clinton Lewis. The Lewis cousins are accused hitmen in Petties’ drug ring.
Pride spent his 30th birthday on the stand in Federal Court, recounting contracts for hire and cold-blooded kills.
Before prosecutors get into the role Martin and Clinton Lewis played in Petties’ enterprise, they’re trying to establish just how dangerous the illegal cross-country drug operation was, giving the jury background and roles of every player in the enterprise.
Pride told jurors he’s serving a 13-year sentence for the murder of Antonio Allen, also known as Big Daddy, a suspected police informant. Pride said Petties’ enterprise offered him $75,000 to kill Allen, a friend of 17 years. Pride told jurors he shot Allen at least 10 times with two guns.
Allen was one of numerous hits the enterprise offered to Pride. In court, the government played 45 minutes of wire tap audio of a conversation between Mario Stewart and life long friend, Pride.
In the tape, Stewart continued to lead Pride in conversations regarding the murder of Big Daddy. After more than 30 minutes into the audio, Pride admitted to accepting an offer to kill Big Daddy. He said, “he didn’t see me go in and kill him.”
Pride also warned Stewart to get out of town, He said the enterprise offered him $50,000 to kill Stewart. In the candid conversation in Pride’s home, he told Stewart, “They don’t care if we live or die… these folks is cold, this sh** is serious.”
In the tape, with Pride’s infant crying in the background, the he repeatedly told Stewart, “I ain’t gone do you.” He gave Stewart a warning, “stay out of dodge, save your family.”
The Petties’ enterprise wanted Stewart murdered because they suspected he was a police informant.
Pride was arrested for Big Daddy’s murder after his confession on Stewart’s wire. Stewart was killed a year later in his garage while his kids were asleep upstairs. Pride says he had nothing to do with the murder.
Pride was on the stand for several hours, the Lewis’s weren’t mentioned once.