Two men have been charged with witness tampering in connection with a St. Louis murder case, authorities said.
Authorities alleged that Larry “Poppy” Strickland, 31, and Anthony “Big Ant” Demyers, 33, worked together to pressure three witnesses to refuse to testify in the June 2017 fatal shooting of Gentrail Wafford.
One of the witnesses, Roderick Silinzy, 40, turned up dead in May. The names of the other witnesses were not disclosed.
But neither Strickland nor Demyers has been charged with killing Silinzy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“Witness intimidation is behavior that strikes at the heart of the justice system itself,” Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said in a news release. “I will do everything in my power under the law to hold anyone accountable who hurts or threatens a witness or victim.”
“Witness intimidation is behavior that strikes at the heart of the justice system itself.”
According to FOX 2 in St. Louis, Wafford was killed during a robbery attempt on June 8, 2017, by gunmen who were identified as Terrance Williams, 29, and Brandon Cross, 29. Wafford was reportedly trying to defend Silinzy.
In July 2017, Williams and Cross were charged in connection with Wafford’s death. Cross then allegedly received documents containing the names of witnesses who were cooperating with authorities, and Williams then allegedly relayed those witness names to Demyers, FOX 2 reported.
Strickland and Demyers then allegedly worked together to persuade Silinzy and the two other witnesses from cooperating in the prosecution of Williams and Cross.
After Silinzy turned up dead May 23, investigators began monitoring Williams’ phone calls from jail, the Post-Dispatch reported.
In three phone calls after Silinzy’s death, Williams told Strickland to “take action” against other witnesses, court documents say, according to the newspaper.
The documents also refer to Demyers as having threatened one of his own relatives about testifying against Williams and Cross, the newspaper reported.