A federal jury found former Page Street Gang member Dennis Cyrus guilty of drug racketeering and three counts of murder, including the killing of federal witness Ray Jimmerson in 2002. The Obama administration's Justice Department had recently taken over the case.
which is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who opposes the death penalty but said he would "enforce the law as this Congress gives it to us," refused to accept a plea deal with Cyrus' defense attorneys in exchange for a life sentence. Next week, the jury will decide whether to give Cyrus the death penalty. This would be the first time a federal jury has given the death penalty here since 1948, when two Alcatraz inmates got the gas chamber for a deadly 1946 escape attempt.