Blood Sport

Page 5 of 5

After arriving, they checked into a motel. Murray and one of his helpers drove the van to Rebel Kennels.

They parked down the road from the kennel. Wearing hoods, they made their way through the weeds, grass and debris in an adjacent vacant lot, then climbed over the chainlink fence on the south side of the house.

Murray apparently decided to take another dog, as well as the one he'd been assigned to retrieve -- perhaps as a little bonus for Yum Yum. But as Murray and his partner were about to make their getaway, they were confronted by the Vasquez cousins. And one of them was carrying a rifle

Murray's partner made a dash back to the van. But since he knew the cousins, Murray pulled off his mask, identified himself and went inside the house to talk things over with his old friends.

According to Crystal Jackson's scenario, Murray soon got the drop on his former co-workers and shot each of them in the head. He and his three traveling companions immediately drove back to Chicago.

Though Yum Yum now had two dogs for his $4,000, the low-profile drug dealer was not pleased. A double homicide investigation was not something he wanted to be part of.

About six weeks after Murray returned to Chicago from Houston, Yum Yum dispatched Murray and his girlfriend, Jackson, to complete a drug transaction. But as they were exchanging the dope for money, the couple was shot by their two male customers.

The shooting left Jackson paralyzed from the waist down. In her hospital room, she told the cops that she believed the drug deal was a setup to eliminate Murray -- the only person who could connect Yum Yum to the Vasquez murders.

Doyle believed her.
"Why would she come up with this story about a guy going to Houston and killing two Mexicans down here?" he asks.

In Houston, the Vasquez case is closed. o Yeah, Doyle admits, there is a possibility that Herman Matthews, a.k.a. Yum Yum, told Murray to do whatever was necessary -- including murder -- to get the dog. After 15 years in the homicide division, sometimes a detective just has a feeling about a case.

"We believe that Matthews knew," says Doyle. "I believe he may have in fact sent these people here to kill Mark Anthony Davis. Unfortunately, there is no way I can prove it. Because the only person he gave the gun to is a dead man."

Yum Yum is currently incarcerated in a Chicago jail, waiting to be tried on federal drug distribution charges. Since no arrests have been made in Murray's murder, Chicago police refuse to comment on their investigation.

Rebel Kennels appears defunct. The kennel's phone is disconnected, and the elderly woman who owns the property claims to have no idea where Mark Anthony Davis is these days. She says he still maintains the place for her but no longer lives there.

Last summer, several pit bulls were spotted in the back yard of what used to be Rebel Kennels. But no dogs were visible during another peek over the fence in late October.

Davis has dropped out of sight. Presumably, he and the 44 missing pit bulls are together, somewhere, waiting for their next match. Despite his claims to the contrary, animal-cruelty investigators have no doubt that, wherever he is, Mark Anthony Davis is still fighting dogs. In his business, death is just part of the overhead.

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Steve McVicker