WEST PHILADELPHIA--Junior Black Mafia lieutenant Leroy “Bucky” Davis, a 22-year-old former amateur boxer, was murdered at 2:30 a.m. on May 14, 1989, while attempting to enter a row house on Creighton Street in West Philadelphia. He was coming home from a party with a girl he hoped to bed but got aired out before he could pull his gun out of his ostrich-skin boots. The hand-picked successor of JBM street boss Aaron Jones, who was locked up and facing a litany of charges, Bucky had been tasked with running Southwest Philly while Jones fought the cases against him. (CNBNewsnet image files)
Although no one could have predicted it, Bucky’s murder would set off a chain of events that upended the organization that had ruled Philadelphia’s inner-city neighborhoods since the mid-1980s with a terrifying ultimatum: Get down or lay down. Which basically meant buy cocaine from the JBM or deal with the consequences. It was a slogan that the federal government claimed epitomized the ruthlessness of Aaron Jones.
With a combination of brawn and business acumen, Jones ascended the criminal hierarchy.
Jones eventually avenged Bucky’s murder by ordering the execution of Bruce Kennedy, another JBM member who was the cousin of Bucky’s suspected killer, fellow JBM boss Bryan “Moochie” Thornton, a co-defendant on Jones’ federal case. Kennedy was dating Neisha Witherspoon — Jones’ baby mama — and the incarcerated Jones was not pleased. Someone had to pay for Bucky’s death, and it might as well be the man who was nailing Jones’ girl. Street justice, some might call it. On Aug. 18, 1990, Jones’ men carried out the hit.
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