A ranking member in the Gangster Disciples gang testified Monday in Criminal Court that he tipped off Chattanooga Gang Task Force Coordinator Boyd Patterson to a threat against him by other gang members.
John Thomas Simpson said he expected that the gang coordinator in turn would help him get a lower bond. Simpson said, "I helped him. He said he would speak on my behalf on my bond."
Simpson said he disclosed to Gang Coordinator Patterson a letter purportedly from other gang members in the "GDs" making threats against "the two Ps." He said it also referred to an officer.
The gang czar testified at a hearing conducted by Judge Don Poole that he thanked Simpson for the information, but did not agree to help him get a lower bond.
He said he was at his office on Aug. 1 when Simpson called him on his cellphone. The former prosecutor said he had not known who Simpson was previously.
He said he later talked with Simpson at the jail and was given the letter.
Simpson asked the gang coordinator on the witness stand, "Do you think I saved your life?"
He responded, "The danger is certainly real" for himself and police officers who deal with gang members. He said any such threat "you have to take seriously."
Judge Poole kept the bond the same for Simpson, who is charged along with three others in the June 29, 2010, home invasion and shooting death of Bernard Hughes, 46. Timothy Westfield, 45, was shot in the hand during the same incident.
The four are to be tried separately. Simpson is representing himself at his own request. Attorney John Brooks is serving as "elbow counsel."