Crime rewards paying off

Two separate $10,000 rewards offered for information in the solving of two murder cases are set to be authorized.

On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee is expected to approve two separate $10,000 rewards offered for information in the solving of two murder cases involving members of the Down Below Gang. The legislation to authorize the payment of the rewards was jointly introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

On Feb. 18, 2004, Mayor Gavin Newsom offered a $10,000 a reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who killed the Jovanie Banks and Michael Hill. The reward is for a witness who came forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of Emile Forte in federal district court. Forte pleded guilty and received a sentence of 41 years for the murders.
 
In a separate homicide case, a $10,000 reward will go to a witness who came forward with information that led to the arrest and conviction of Don Johnson in the federal court case of the murder of Jaquain Williams. Newsom established the reward on March 2, 2005. Court documents said Johnson “possessed marijuana with intent to distribute it on two occasions and that he killed Jaquain Williams with a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun in retaliation for his suspected cooperation with police.”
 
The success of the reward offerings must be welcomed news for city officials who have voiced frustration about how few witnesses come forward with information.

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