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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Three Men Convicted of 2009 Kidnapping and Murder of West Hartford Man

United States Attorney John H. Durham, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane, Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Joe of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Hartford Police Chief David Rosado, today announced that a federal jury in Bridgeport has found has found three men guilty of the kidnapping, robbery and the execution-style murder of Charles Teasley, 35, of West Hartford, in January 2009.

HAROLD COOK, also known as “Oink,” 41, of Bloomfield, GERUND MICKENS, also known as “Breeze,” 42, of Bloomfield, and TERRELL HUNTER, also known as “Rell” and “Killer,” 36, of Hartford, were each found guilty of one count of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of using a firearm during a kidnapping and causing a death, and one count of using a firearm during a Hobbs Act robbery and causing a death.

The trial before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill began on August 6, 2018, and the jury returned the guilty verdicts late yesterday afternoon.

At sentencing, each defendant faces a mandatory term of life imprisonment without parole.

This matter stems from an investigation conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, Hartford Police Department and the Cold Case Homicide Unit of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

According to evidence presented during the trial, on January 12, 2009, Hartford Police responded to Colebrook Street in response to a 911 call concerning a dead body being found in the back seat of a vehicle parked on the street.  Upon arrival, Charles Teasley was found dead in the back seat of his own vehicle, a 1999 Acura TL.  He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his head and face, and his hands were zip-tied behind his back.

The investigation revealed that Cook, Mickens, Hunter and Jesus Ashanti were involved in committing armed robberies of persons they believed to be drug dealers operating in the greater Hartford area.  On January 9, 2009, an individual advised Cook that he had arranged to conduct a cocaine transaction with Charles Teasley, also known as “Man.”  The individual provided the particulars of the planned transaction to Cook so that Teasley could be kidnapped and robbed of drugs and money.  After the individual met with Teasley at the approximate time and location he had provided to Cook, Cook, Mickens, Hunter and Ashanti went to the location and kidnapped Teasley by using zip-ties to bind his hands and forcing him back into the rear seat of  his own vehicle.  In the vehicle, they threatened Teasley at gunpoint, assaulted him and forced him to make a telephone call directing his girlfriend to bring to Cook, Mickens, Hunter and Ashanti a safe that Teasley had kept at his and his girlfriend’s West Hartford residence.  They drove to the residence and acquired the safe.  Cook, Mickens and Hunter then drove Teasley to the Colebrook Street area of Hartford, and Ashanti followed them in a separate car.  On the way, Hunter and Cook shot Teasley in the head causing his death.  After arriving on Colebrook Street, Cook, Mickens and Hunter left the Acura and Teasley’s body, and then fled the area in the car driven by Ashanti.

Cook, Mickens and Hunter have been detained since their arrests on April 4, 2017. 

On July 16, 2018, Ashanti, also known as “Black,” 42, of Hartford, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping resulting in death, one count of using a firearm during a kidnapping and causing a death, and one count of using a firearm during a robbery and causing a death.  Ashanti is currently incarcerated in Massachusetts state custody after committing a series of bank robberies since 2010.

“I thank our partners in the FBI Task Force, Hartford Police Department and Chief State’s Attorney’s Office for their excellent investigative work in bringing to justice the men responsible for this brutal murder,” said U.S. Attorney Durham.  “The citizens of Hartford and family members of victims have benefited by this collaboration and the diligent work of the Cold Case Homicide Unit of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, formerly headed by Patrick Griffin, now State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New Haven.  The Justice Department, through it Project Safe Neighborhoods program, is committed to reducing violent crime in our cities by prosecuting dangerous offenders.  We also will continue to work with our state counterparts in their ongoing efforts to solve other cold case murders, and provide justice for victims’ families.”

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the agencies involved in this matter,” said Chief State’s Attorney Kane.  “It is yet another example of how through collaboration government at all levels can accomplish much, which is particularly important in the current budget climate.”

“The Hartford Police Department is committed to working collaboratively with our state, local, and federal partners in addressing violent crimes in our cities,” said Chief Rosado.  “This is another great example of this partnership resulting in getting our most violent offenders off the street and making our communities safer.”

Chief State’s Attorney Kane noted that the unsolved homicide of Charles “Man” Teasley was included in cold case playing cards sold to inmates in Connecticut’s state correctional facilities.  Each card in the deck features a photograph and brief details about a homicide or missing person case and lists telephone, mail and e-mail contacts that inmates can use to supply information.

The FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.

The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Durham, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis and Peter D. Markle, and Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Reed Durham, who has been cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in this matter.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated August 22, 2018