The body count in Milwaukee is the highest it’s been in a decade, with 131 recorded homicides so far this year, compared to 122 in 2005. The authorities may have prevented number 132 with the foiling of the snuffing of a murder witness. Local heroin dealer Antonio “Tone” Smith has been charged, along with Lorenzo Beaton, Shantrell “Peanut” Lyons and Shaheem M. Smith, for plotting to kill John Spivey. Spivey was present when Smith allegedly killed Eddie Powe in July.
Smith (known on the street as “Hitman”) was already locked up for Powe’s murder, and facing trial March after pleading not guilty. Allegedly, Smith, 33, shot Powe, 35, three times close range, then three more times as he ran for his life. It is suspected that the dispute stemmed from a love triangle. Powe was reportedly dating Lyons before dating 17-year-old Breanna Eskridge, who was also on the scene. Lyons is now Smith’s lady, and is expecting a child. According to reports, Powe told police that “Tone,” was the one who shot him as paramedics unsuccessfully tried to save his life. Eight days later, Eskridge was gunned down.
While behind bars with charges related to Powe’s death, Smith’s phone calls and video chats with Lyons were monitored by jail staff. Using different inmates’ accounts to try to throw law enforcement off, Smith allegedly mandated Lyons to move dope and “drug-dealing supplies” to a storage locker. Lyons has bragged about being one of Smith’s top dealers, and carried a pink .25 caliber handgun.
Tips about the coded conversations were sent to the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force. The task force decoded more than drug talk. They deciphered that Smith was orchestrating the murder of Spivey. Smith is allegedly recorded telling Lyons, “You get that (expletive). Go get him, go get him, go get him man!”
Spivey had been locked up on separate gun charges. Smith allegedly arranged for Beaton to pay for Spivey’s $7,600 bail, saying that Spivey’s parents were ill, in case anyone was suspicious about why a stranger was paying cash for his release. Lyon and Beaton laid in wait as Spivey was released, but an alerted team of district attorney investigators intercepted him before he got clapped on.
In another call that same day, Smith is recorded saying to Lyons, “You know where you need to be!” He instructed her to move on to “Plan B.” This plan involved killing Spivey at his crib. Lyons was spotted in the vicinity by Milwaukee police staked out there, but she escaped. However, Lyons, Beaton and Shaheem Smith weer arrested a short while later.
After his arrest, Beaton told authorities that he, Lyons and Smith were armed and ready to shoot Spivey when they found him. Beaton told police his plan was to shoot him “on sight,” that he was the “triggerman” and he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison. But Beaton also told authorities he intended to back out of the plan and not actually kill Spivey, the complaint says.
Shaheem Smith told investigators that Lyons was running the drug operation while his uncle was in jail and he got heroin from her to sell.
All four conspirators have been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide. Beaton and Smith face additional drug charges and Beaton faces more gun counts.