By Van Smith
Published by City Paper, July 22, 2010
Back in 1991, when he was 39 years old, Walter Louis Ingram got away with murder, and it wasn’t the first time.
Along with co-defendant Kenneth Antonio Jackson, a politically connected Baltimore strip-club owner with his own dark past in the drug game, Ingram was acquitted of murder charges by a New York jury. The case against them—they were accused of the 1984 killing of cocaine wholesaler Felix Gonzalez—was defended by legendary attorney Robert Simels, who arranged for the victim’s family to testify against the government.
The 1991 acquittal was a stunning victory for Ingram—though not uncommon in his then-20-year history of court battles. By that time, according to media accounts, Ingram had already flouted prosecutors’ attempts to convict him for three murders, two attempted murders, two drug conspiracies, two armed robberies, and two cases of assaulting police. But not long after the New York case, prosecutors finally succeeding in nailing Ingram: In December 1992, he received a 210-month sentence in federal court for his part in a major cocaine conspiracy. He was released, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, on July 10, 2007.
(Earlier this year, Simels was sentenced to 14 years in prison for witness intimidation; he still owns a downtown Baltimore condo with Jackson’s mother, Rosalie Jackson. Kenneth Jackson, meanwhile, not only still runs the Eldorado Lounge on East Lombard Street, but also is a film producer and director, putting out a series of docu-dramas that purportedly give the real facts behind stories told in HBO’s The Wire.)
Though getting up in years, Ingram apparently still has game. Yesterday, yet another federal indictment was unsealed against Ingram, along with eight other defendants, accusing them of conspiring to deal heroin since 2009. Ingram is now 59, and his co-defendants aren’t much younger. The indictment is skeletal—it merely says they are accused of dealing at least a kilogram of heroin since 2009—so it remains to be seen, as the case against them progresses, what exactly Ingram and his cohorts are accused of doing.