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How the AJC covered the Mamadou Barry case from "ATL Homicide"

From the archives: Murder of immigrant businessman led police to the International Robbin Crew gang.

The TV One true-crime series "ATL Homicide" dealt with the killing of Mamadou Barry in its eleventh episode. Barry was found dead in his bathtub in 2005. Two years later, his death was traced back to a violent gang of thieves from New Orleans called the International Robbin Crew.

"ATL Homicide" recreates cases as told by David Quinn and Vince Velazquez, two retired Atlanta Police Department homicide detectives. Quinn has called the show "like an APD greatest hits LP for us." 

See the AJC's coverage of previous episodes: Tereon Grant | Alan Watson | Shaquilla Weatherspoon | John Ray | Sparkle Rai | Jerry Heard | Willie Bell | Cassandra Bryant | Antwan Curry | Apriel Allen 

Here are some of the key articles from the Barry case as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered it. 

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From Dec. 2, 2005: 

Law & Order briefs | ATLANTA: Man found dead in bathtub identified 

A man found dead in the bathtub of an Atlanta apartment Monday has been identified as Mamadou Barry. 

Police found Barry, 39, bound and tied inside a ransacked apartment in the 800 block of Oglethorpe Avenue. 

He died of asphyxia, the Fulton County medical examiner's office said Thursday. 

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From Dec. 22, 2005: 

Minibikes likely a clue in homicide 

By Saeed Ahmed 

The man lay dead in his southwest Atlanta apartment for several days before police, responding to reports of an odor coming from the unit, found him bound and tied in his bathtub. 

The 39-year-old man had died of asphyxia, perhaps strangled, perhaps suffocated. The glass patio door to his residence had been broken, his home ransacked. 

But curiously, the only things missing were keys. Police would not find a single set anywhere. 

Thus began the investigation into the death of Mamadou Faliou Barry. His body was found Nov. 28 inside Unit 620 of the Oglethorpe Place Apartments, across from the West End MARTA station. 

In the last three weeks, Atlanta police Detective David Quinn has put together several pieces of the puzzle, but now he's stumped, he said Wednesday. 

Quinn thinks Barry was robbed and killed for the keys — one of which opened the door to a store he ran on Metropolitan Parkway. 

There, police found no signs of forced entry, but someone had cleaned the place out: Air Jordan sneakers. Piles of blank DVDs and CDs (used for bootlegging music and movies, although Barry is believed to be just the seller). And this year's must-have item, pocket minibikes. 

Dozens of them were stolen. The key to the murder mystery lies with them, Quinn believes. 

The bikes — which stand about 2 feet high, resemble small motorcycles and are popular among young adults despite being marketed toward kids — are no longer manufactured but remain in high demand. 

Barry, a native of Guinea who had lived in Atlanta for several years on an immigrant visa, was well-known in the area for acquiring in mass quantity "whatever's hot in the urban community and selling it," Quinn said. 

Police are asking anyone who may have bought a pocket bike recently or been approached by someone to purchase one to call them. 

"I'm not trying to prosecute [any buyer], I am merely trying to determine the line of origin of the items," Quinn said. 

"I've been trying for weeks to piece this together," he added. "I'm desperate for information." 

Anyone with information about Barry or the minibikes is asked to call Detective David Quinn at 770-633-5369. 

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From Oct. 13, 2007: 

Law & Order briefs: Police make arrest in 2 slaying cases 

Atlanta police said they arrested a 24-year-old man Friday on charges he killed two men. Police also say he's connected with a crew of eight men they believe were involved with the killings of six other men since June. Police said Jeremy Dunn was arrested Friday at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot wound he suffered Feb. 18, inflicted by Prentice McNeil, one of the other eight men in custody, police said. Police say Dunn is responsible for the Nov. 28, 2005 killing of Mamadou Barry and the Sept. 24, 2006 death of Clarence Hargrove. 

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From Nov. 3, 2007: 

Crime wave may be solved: 9 indicted in murder spree 

By Steve Visser 

Lawmen call them the most violent Atlanta gang in their memory. 

They're accused of killing at least seven people in two years, including an East Point businessman by suffocating him in his bathtub, and shooting an Iraq war veteran with an assault rifle, possibly for target practice, as he drove his SUV on south Spring Street. 

But it was the assassination of a witness against them while he was standing outside a Midtown club in June that helped investigators put together the case that resulted in the 39-count indictment Friday against nine people connected to the "International Robbing Crew." 

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Friday the gang has its roots in New Orleans, with some of its members moving to Atlanta after Hurricane Katrina and recruiting locally. Police and prosecutors suspect the gang is responsible for a slew of robberies and more murders and contend it played a large part in the city's spike in killings in the last two years. 

"It is the consensus of law enforcement agencies that this is the most violent gang anyone can ever remember in Atlanta," Howard said. "Our gang problem is real." 

The gang members are charged with crimes ranging from multiple counts of murder or aggravated assault to weapons violations or conspiracy, Howard's office said. 

The gang allegedly started its crime spree shortly after Hurricane Katrina evacuees arrived and settled in metro Atlanta, rather than return home to the flood-ravaged Crescent City. 

A violent crime task force, composed of federal agents and marshals and Atlanta police, had been tracking some of the gang members for months, said Jack Barrs, a senior district attorney. 

But it wasn't until Randy Renar Griffin shot one of them when they tried to rob him near his condo last May in north Fulton that law officers got their big break in the case. "He broke the case open for us," Barrs said. 

Griffin's identification of Carlos Drenon as the gunman he had wounded put Drenon, 28, in the Fulton County jail. Drenon then telephoned his colleagues to kill Griffin — and effectively the case against Drenon — Barrs said. 

Three weeks after the robbery attempt, Griffin was fatally shot outside Club 112 in Midtown. Investigators naturally suspected Drenon, who apparently didn't know his telephone conversations from the jail were being recorded. 

Barrs said the calls gave investigators a window into the gang and helped them connect the dots in the seven murders. 

"We discovered he was making phone calls from the jail to arrange to take care of the witness against him," Barrs said. 

"That was the catalyst that opened up the investigation. We knew who he was communicating with and what he was saying so we were able to firm up the connections with the crew." 

Ashton Walter Mitchell, 21; Edward Morris, 28; Maurice Kevin Hargrove, 25; and Drenon were indicted in Griffin's murder. Tiffany Bakston, 24, is charged with conspiracy in that case. 

Authorities said Mitchell, Morris and Hargrove came to Atlanta from New Orleans and allegedly brought their gangland ways with them. 

Marciell Easterling, 24; Daquan Stevens, 23; and Jeremy Dunn, 23, are indicted in the robbing and killing of Mamadou Barry, a salesman who was found bound in the bathtub of his Atlanta home with a plastic bag over his face. Investigators believe the gang was after the keys to Barry's East Point warehouse, where he kept his merchandise. 

Easterling and Stevens are accused of shooting 24-year-old Army veteran Ryan Harmon, who was driving his SUV on Spring Street near I-20 in April 2006 when he was shot twice in the back with an assault rifle. His Lithonia parents said they didn't know how their son could survive in Iraq and then die such an inexplicable death in Atlanta 13 months after leaving the war zone. 

The two gunmen "may have been conducting a target practice," according to a statement by the district attorney's office. Harmon had been working as a security guard at Fort Gillem and hoped one day to have his own car lot, his family said. 

"It's very painful to us," his stepfather, Steve Berry, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the shooting. "To get a call from DeKalb County police that he's been shot, [that's] kind of hard to swallow." 

In addition to Harmon, Barry and Griffin, other victims of murders allegedly committed by members of the group include: 

  • Clarence Hargrave, shot by a handgun. Vincent Morris, 19, and Edward Morris are charged with murder in that killing. 
  • Dwayne Osby, shot to death with a handgun. Hargrove, Easterling, Stevens, Edward Morris and Vincent Morris are charged with murdering him. 
  • Kanii Robinson, shot to death with a handgun. Hargrove, Easterling and Stevens are charged. 
  • Jura Tye, shot to death. Hargrove and Mitchell are charged. 

"I just don't believe they accumulated any wealth through their efforts," Barrs said. "Most of them were living in apartments. They didn't buy homes or fancy cars." 

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From April 14, 2009: 

Trial begins for 6 murder suspects 

Alleged gang of 12 members arrested in '07 

By Steve Visser 

Six accused gang members — whom police say called themselves the International Robbing Crew — are on trial this week in Superior Court for murder in Atlanta. 

They are the first of 12 people police arrested in 2007 to face a jury in Fulton County on indictments totaling 60 counts. 

Some of them are from New Orleans, and authorities say they began their crime spree in metro Atlanta after relocating here as Hurricane Katrina evacuees. 

Prosecutors Eleanor Ross and Gabe Banks faced a phalanx of defense attorneys in Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk's courtroom as they began the jury selection process Monday. 

They are expected to continue selecting the jury today. 

On trial are Tiffany Bankston, 26; Carlos Drennon, 30; Maurice Hargrove, 27; Edward Morris, 29; Vincent Troy Morris, 21; and Daquan Stevens, 24. 

The court has ruled that the 12-member gang should face separate trials in all the murder cases. 

These six go to trial on a 10-count indictment, ranging from murder to robbery to membership in a criminal street gang in the killing Randy Renar Griffin. 

Ross and Banks plan to introduce evidence of other murders in this trial under the Georgia Criminal Street Gang Act. 

A violent-crime task force, composed of federal agents and Atlanta police, tracked the suspected gangsters for months. 

Lawmen got their break when Griffin identified Drennon as a man he shot when being robbed outside his north Fulton County condo. 

Three weeks after the robbery attempt, the 36-year-old Griffin was fatally shot outside Club 112 in Midtown. 

Investigators suspected Drennon, who apparently didn't know his telephone conversations from the jail were automatically recorded. 

Investigators checked the recorded calls and connected the gang to Griffin's death and to seven more killings, prosecutors said. 

Two other cases are connected to Stevens, but he will not be tried on them this week. He goes on trial first for robbing and killing a salesman, Mamadou Barry, who was found bound in his bathtub with a plastic bag over his face. 

Stevens also is accused of shooting 24-year-old Army veteran Ryan Harmon, who was driving his SUV on Spring Street near I-20 in April 2006 when he was shot twice in the back with an assault rifle. 

Stevens and another gang member not on trial this week are accused of killing Harmon for target practice.

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