Crackup on Lex Street

It was the biggest mass killing in the city's history. But that doesn't begin to tell the story of what happened that night in West Philadelphia.

By Solomon Jones
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 15 | Posted Feb. 14, 2001

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"The boy Jermel, I just started seeing him last summer," says a former dealer familiar with the neighborhood drug trade. "That's how it is down there. People just come and just start acting like they from down there."

"When George's crew first started," says a neighborhood source who asked not to be identified, "it was George Porter, curly-haired Tyrone [not Tyrone Long], Jermel Lewis and Malik Harris."

Though George Porter and Jermel Lewis had a falling out and stopped selling drugs together, it seemed they had remained friends.

"George branched out," the former dealer says. "George had his own little clique--the young boys. George had the young boys from around there. They had just started seeing a little bit of money from the dope game, for real for real."

They saw so much money that, when Jermel Lewis was arrested for allegedly assaulting his own sister a few days before the Lex Street shootings, he called Porter to bail him out.

As George Porter's crew became more successful, tension increased. Maynard, whose disdain for Porter was well known, had several altercations with him.

Shawn Crews, another neighborhood dealer who police say was close with Maynard, had a crew of his own. Jermel Lewis, Hezekiah Thomas and Quiante Perrin were allegedly linked to his group.

Porter's crew eventually set up shop at the house on Lex Street. Though police say they received only one 911 call for the Lex Street house in the previous year, a 16th District officer who spoke anonymously says the district had received complaints about the house that they had not yet investigated.

During the last two weeks of December, Porter's crew began to outsell the competition by using lookouts to intercept drug buyers.

"They was cutting too many people off," says the former dealer. "It wasn't that many people, but just down there, people getting cut off and drug dealers see they pocket getting light ... they get jealous."

In addition to cutting customers off from the other dealers, Porter sold his product at half-price, undercutting his competitors.

"A lot of people in the neighborhood were mad at George Porter for a lot of reasons," says Deputy Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson.

"It was about money and George whole attitude," says the former dealer. "George was arrogant. It was just everything--a lot of stuff."

On Dec. 27, his mother says, CJ Helton enrolled in the now-defunct Computer Learning Center.

That night, Guy Long came home and spent the night at his mother's house. "I guess that was God's way of bringing him back to me one more time," she says.

The next morning, Yvette Long's boyfriend, Alfred "Bobby" Goodwin, a truck driver who served as co-captain of his South Philadelphia block, went to work. He called his wife at her job that afternoon.

"If Bobby was here now, he would have been outside helping people shovel out their cars [from the snow]," says Lisa Nelson, Goodwin's cousin. "He was that type of person--always helpful."

At 2 o'clock on the day of the shootings, Veronica Conyers received a call from her son, CJ Helton, at her job. He told her he was going to West Philly.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 15 of 15
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1. kimmi64 said... on Sep 3, 2008 at 12:22PM

“i could have been there too. i just happen to be at kirkbride rehab center in west philly at the time, not too far from the bottoms. i was that caught out, crack addict,hiv having prostitute that hung out at crack houses like that across the city. to think yhat i could have been laid out on that floor with the rest of them makes me feel unimagineably wonderful, being saved from that horrible death. whew”

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2. adeena said... on Dec 16, 2008 at 07:58AM

“as salaamu alaikum! masha'allah 4 the lives that weren't taken. Alhamdulillah”

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3. none yah said... on Feb 18, 2009 at 09:34AM

“yall dont know nothing about nothing...... ”

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4. Anonymous said... on Apr 28, 2009 at 02:19AM

“It is a damn shame those people lost their lives. I grew up playing ball at the Creek, playing football across from Sorrows and Sis Clara Mohammed, eating at Dwights and it makes me wanna cry for the families that lost loved ones. I've been to Iraq and Korea twice and its a damn shame that my neighborhood is still is disarray.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Jul 13, 2009 at 10:45PM

“There will be a movie about this compelling story sometime next year, and I guarantee the City of Philadelphia is gonna have a question or two to answer. It was indeed a shame that four young men were wrongfully accused, which leads me to believe they just strong-armed and chose those who allegedly "confessed" to the killings.

Tragic.”

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6. kishia hanible said... on Aug 18, 2010 at 01:43AM

“i have read the book watch the dvd listen to the case the youngest one that got killed was my cuzin sam i don't know what went down that night but who ever did the shit will pay rather it be in life or death they will pay and i tell you their is no system that can do what god won't do and beleave me they will suffer....r.i.p to all of them.”

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7. Steve Wright said... on Jul 24, 2011 at 10:42PM

“I left Philly in 1979 for the service to get far away from the violents in the Mill Creek section of town. I returned for a visit to family and friends in June 2011 and in hope to see that this city has improved over the years. Philly is basically the same as I left it which is a shame, When I was growing up there it was alot of shooting and killing like it is now. Growing up on June Street between Parrish and Brown I feelsf or those who lost there life on Lex St. Rest in peace Petey I remember many games of basketball we played at the courts of Mill Creek playground. R.I.P. Petey”

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8. Anonymous said... on Sep 11, 2011 at 04:39PM

“IT SADINS ME TO KNOW I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH A LOT OF THE PPL OF LEX ST... PPL PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP THE VILOENCE THE ELDERLY ARE OUT LIVING THE YOUNG. IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL.......SIMPLY CRAZY!!! WHATS HAPPEN TO LETS SHAKE & MAKE UP!!!!”

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9. Anonymous said... on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:06PM

“SOMETHING JUST TOLD ME TO LOOK UP THIS CRIME.. AND ITS CRAZY HOW IT HAS BEEN TEN YRS AND THINGS HAVENT GOTTEN ANY BETTER..... LIKE SERIOUSLY THE YOUNGEST PERSON WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN 25 LIKE MYSELF. WE WENT TO JAMES RHODES TOGETHER... PPL STOP KILLING OUR FUTURE OFF.. YALL DONT UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON....”

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10. sexylady46 said... on Jan 21, 2012 at 08:43PM

“This sad that these seven ppl was killed over a fucking car”

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11. DownthewayJ said... on May 24, 2012 at 09:09PM

“Grew up in west Philly. Lived on Lancaster Ave. Shame how we continue to kill each other. When will we learn? As-salaamu-alaikum”

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12. mike war said... on Jul 20, 2012 at 07:51AM

“R.I.P JIG

46 street for life! all was senseless

r.i.p buzzy”

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13. ryan said... on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:25PM

“He said, 'This is a press conference, not a community meeting,'" Long recalls. "How can you say that as the mayor. you elected that clown and look where it got you. black people dont get the big picture thats why when you walk into a prison its made up of 65percent blacks. i recall abraham lincoln freed the slaves and yet you vote for democrats the blacks. because they want free money!”

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14. Anonymous said... on Dec 4, 2013 at 06:34PM

“this story needs to be updated. at least 4 other men were charged. the 1st 4 were aquitted.”

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15. Chuck said... on Oct 22, 2014 at 07:48PM

“This is a crazy senseless world we live in.I knew all of them the were my yong boys may god bless them and bless those who don't know no better.LOVE AND PEACE.46FOREVER.”

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