BRIDGEPORT MAN ADMITS PARTICIPATING
IN THE MURDER OF THREE INDIVIDUALS IN 2005
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, announced that AZIKIWE AQUART, also known as “Z” and “Ziggy,” 31, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to three counts of murder in aid of racketeering stemming from his role in the murder of three Bridgeport residents in August 2005.
According to court documents, statements made in court and evidence introduced during Azibo Aquart’s trial in the spring of 2011, Azibo Aquart, who is Azikiwe Aquart’s brother, was the founder and leader of a drug trafficking group that primarily sold crack cocaine out of an apartment building located at 215 Charles Street in Bridgeport. Azibo Aquart and his associates participated in acts of violence, such as threats and assaults, to maintain their control over the group’s drug distribution activities at the Charles Street Apartments. In the summer of 2005, Azibo Aquart and his associates became involved in a drug trafficking dispute with Tina Johnson, a resident of 215 Charles Street who sometimes sold smaller quantities of crack cocaine without the approval of Azibo Aquart. On the morning of August 24, 2005, Azibo Aquart, Azikiwe Aquart and others entered Apartment 101 at 215 Charles Street and murdered Tina Johnson, 43, her boyfriend James Reid, 40, and friend Basil Williams, 54. The three victims were bound with duct tape and brutally beaten to death with baseball bats.
Today, Azikiwe Aquart specifically admitted that he had agreed to participate in what he believed would be a robbery with his brother and others and, after entering the apartment he committed the murder of James Reid, while other participants in the crime murdered Tina Johnson and Basil Williams.
During the trial of Azibo Aquart, in addition to witness testimony, the government offered extensive forensic evidence gathered from the apartment, including fingerprints and evidence that contained DNA from the Aquarts and others.
Judge Underhill has scheduled Azikiwe Aquart’s sentencing for November 14, 2011, at which time Aquart faces a mandatory life term of imprisonment on each of the three counts of murder in aid of racketeering.
On May 23, 2011, after a month-long trial, a federal jury in New Haven found Azibo Aquart guilty of the murders of Johnson, Reid and Williams. On June 15, 2011, the jury unanimously determined that Azibo Aquart should be sentenced to death for committing both the racketeering murders and drug-related murders of Johnson and Williams, but could not reach a unanimous decision as to an appropriate penalty, life imprisonment or death, for the racketeering murder and drug-related murder of Reid.
United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton will schedule a sentencing date for Azibo Aquart after the submission of post-trial motions.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bridgeport Police Department, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction’s Intelligence Unit, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, United States Marshals Service, Bridgeport States Attorney’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Dayton, Peter D. Markle, Alina P. Reynolds of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and Trial Attorney Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Capital Case Unit.
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