‘Snitches gonna die' rap leads to witness intimidation charges

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SEATTLE —

Two men who claimed they were victims of police brutality may spend a long in jail, one for what happened in the halls of the King County courthouse during the other man’s trial.

 

Police said a stabbing victim and a witness were sitting outside a courtroom waiting to testify when a man and a woman came up to them and started rapping “snitches gonna die.”

 

Inside the courtroom, Charles Chapelle Jr. was on trial, accused of stabbing a man in the neck with a broken bottle in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

 

Prosecutors said because of the alleged intimidation that occurred on in the hallway, the case could have been lost.

 

Last week, the stabbing victim and a key witness were waiting to testify when Chappelle's friends, Jahmez Amili, and Amili’s sister Tierra Amili, snapped photos and threatened the witness and victim, prosecutors said.

 

What Jahmez Amili and his sister didn’t know was that a police officer was also waiting to testify.

 

According to documents uncovered by KIRO 7, the officer heard Jahmez and Tierra Amili say, “liars are gonna get what they have coming to them."

 

Jahmez and Tierra Amili were arrested and charged with intimidating a witness.

 

“If the victim and witnesses had not cooperated in this case, we would not have been able to identify the defendant and had him convicted,” said Ian Goodhew with the King County Prosecutor’s Office.  “We take intimidating witnesses and tampering with witnesses extremely seriously.”

 

Chappelle and Jahmez Amili have been in the limelight before.

 

Both told KIRO 7 they were beaten by Tukwila police while they were being arrested on charges of assault, obstruction and resisting arrest in May.

 

Both men, who have extensive criminal histories, talked about possibly filing a lawsuit against the city of Tukwila.

 

The King County Prosecutor's Office said their prior arrests would most likely mean longer sentences for Chappelle in the Belltown stabbing and for Amili, if he’s convicted of intimidation.

 

KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy called the Tukwila Police Department to check the status of a possible lawsuit Chappelle and Amili discussed with KIRO 7.  She received no response.

 

Both Chappelle and Jahmez  Amili are in jail.  Tierra Amili posted bail.

 

The stabbing victim declined to be interviewed.