North Side gang member convicted in drive-by killing

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 30, 2010 - 11:44 PM

Kyle Parker was a rival gang member and high school student who was gunned down near his mother's home.

A north Minneapolis gangster was convicted Friday of the drive-by killing a year ago of Kyle Parker, a varsity basketball player at Roosevelt High School and an original member of the violent Taliban street-gang.

A Hennepin County District Court jury convicted Chris (Fat Chris) Bahtouh, 20, of "first-degree drive-by murder" in the death of Parker, who was walking on the 3400 block of Logan Avenue N. near his mother's home when he was shot.

Bahtouh was a member of the rival 19 Block Dipset gang. The two violent gangs have traded attacks and killings on the North Side since a 2005 murder.

The jury acquitted Bahtouh of two more severe murder charges, which carry a life sentence without the possibility of release. He has not been sentenced yet by Judge Margaret Daly, but he is likely to serve at least 30 years in prison before he is paroled.

Shortly before trial, he rejected a deal that would have allowed him to be released after 16 years.

Assistant County Attorney Andrew LeFevour showed video footage of Bahtouh's car from surveillance cameras outside North High School.

The footage showed the car repeatedly arriving at and leaving a house on the 1600 block of James Avenue N. The house was the headquarters for the 19 Block Dipset gang. The house is about a mile from the site of the shooting, and the times on the video coincided with sightings of Bahtouh's car on Logan Avenue.

The prosecutor also talked about how Bahtouh and his girlfriend went on the run after the shooting, staying with friends and relatives, falsely claiming the girlfriend's apartment was being painted.

Bahtouh's lawyer, Gary Wolf, argued that while Bahtouh drove the car past Parker and called him over, Bahtouh didn't know another man in the car was going to pull out a semiautomatic handgun and shoot Parker.

In his closing argument, LeFevour said taking down Parker, a Taliban leader, would help Bahtouh "earn his stripes" with the 19 Block Dipset gang. He also pointed to testimony from Parker's sister, who said that as her brother lay dying she asked who had shot him, and he said, "Chris, Fat Chris, Fat Chris."

The defense argued the dying declaration never happened and noted that prosecutors had no weapon or forensic evidence linking Bahtouh to the crime.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

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