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Guilty Verdict in Stripper-Murder Drug Trial

December 5, 2012

Tyrone Johniken, the only defendant to go to trial in a four-member racketeering drug-conspiracy case involving the 2010 murder of Club Pussy Cat dancer Cherrie Gammon (“Laid Bare,” Mobtown Beat, Oct. 3), was found guilty of all charges by a federal trial jury on Nov. 21, after a 10-day trial. At his scheduled Mar. 21 sentencing, Johniken faces a possible life sentence for the convictions, which include conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute crack and heroin. His three co-defendants who pleaded guilty before trial – Monica McCants, Donte Bernard Baker, and Gary Thenor Cromartie – also face the same possible fate.

Prosecutors dubbed the outfit “the McCants-Baker organization,” which used strippers to run drugs on “the Block,” a downtown stretch of E. Baltimore St. famous for providing adult entertainment. Court documents in the case revealed that the organization believed Gammon (pictured), who owed drug debts, had been snitching – and sleeping with one of the cops investigating the outfit (The News Hole, Nov. 9). Ultimately, in Dec. 2010, Gammon was shot to death near Leon Day Park in West Baltimore.

Witnesses in the case were reluctant to testify, and arrest warrants were issued for two: Baker’s ex-girlfriend, Cheryl Haywood (Mobtown Beat, Nov. 7), and Yoo Jin Kim, described in court documents as “a friend” of Gammon’s and a “co-conspirator” in the McCants-Baker organization who was “familiar with the fact that Gammon was a reputed ‘snitch.’” Ultimately, Haywood was never brought in, since court documents filed by prosecutors on Nov. 26 asked that the warrant for her arrest be dismissed since it “was never executed successfully, and the trial … is over.”