MANCHESTER — Alleged street-gang mastermind Brandon Griffin is charged with ordering the houses of his rivals shot up. And a turncoat of Griffin’s “Squad” gang ended up a murder victim.
But not even members of The Squad were safe.
That’s according to testimony Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court. On the witness stand, a 34-year-old woman described how a fellow gang member cut her cheek on Griffin’s orders because she couldn’t pay down a $200 debt.
The witness said she used Super Glue to close the cut, fearing she would face repercussions if she went to the hospital for stitches.
The testimony was the most riveting so far in the trial of Griffin, 31, who is facing 72 charges including leading a drug enterprise, human trafficking, conspiracy to murder a drug dealer, first-degree assault of one of his own gang members, and plotting 11 shootings into Manchester homes, most of them occupied by rival drug dealers.
The New Hampshire Union Leader granted the request of prosecutors to not name the witness, who said she is a cooperating witness. They described her as a victim and someone living in the southern New Hampshire area without extraordinary police protection.
The witness said she was an addict and a runner for the Squad. She exchanged drugs for money and handed the proceeds over to enforcers, who would then give the money to Squad leaders.
But enforcers were addicts themselves, her proceeds would come up short, and she would be indebted to Griffin, she said.
Once Griffin took over the Squad, it became an uglier organization, she said.
On two occasions an enforcer, Charles Morrison, punished the witness, she said. The first time, he took a used a stun gun on her and beat her for 10 minutes, she said.
On the day she was cut, Morrison took her for a walk, climbing the stairs to a third-floor apartment building, she said.
“He put his left hand around me like a hug, and his right hand came up and he proceeded to slice my face with a razor blade,” she said. “I felt my cheek get wet.”
Morrison had some paper towels ready and gave them to her. He went inside the apartment and told her not to tell anyone.
Later, when another Squad enforcer, John Gebo, asked about her debt, she said she wouldn’t pay.
“On the street, the code is blood or money, and he got my blood,” the witness said.
She also described a confrontation between Griffin, Morrisson and Tori Caron, Griffin’s girlfriend.
Caron had walked out on the Squad. When she returned, Morrison beat Caron with a cable TV cord, an act designed to humiliate her, the witness said.
The witness said she left the room at the time and heard Caron screaming. Caron eventually agreed to cooperate with police but died of an overdose. The jury has heard about Caron, but not about her death.
When asked by Assistant County Attorney Patrick Ives why she is testifying, the witness said to tell the truth and for those “no longer with us.” Ives cut her off at that point.
Several other Squad members, including John Gebo, Kelvin Reddick and Amanda Gurley are expected to testify. The trial is slated for four to six weeks and is marked by heavy security, including ID checks and a half-dozen bailiffs and plain-clothed detectives in the courtroom.
Superior Court Judge David Anderson has allowed jurors to take notes, an exception to standard trial practice.