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Openings set in major Chicago gang trial focused on killings

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Opening statements are slated for the biggest street-gang trial in recent Chicago history, offering a rare inside look at the kind of gangland activity that’s helped fuel city gun violence.

Wednesday is the attorneys’ first chance to address jurors about the charges in Chicago federal court.

Six purported leaders of the Hobos gang face racketeering charges. Prosecutors say they murdered, maimed and tortured their way into controlling lucrative drug markets on Chicago’s South Side.

One defendant is alleged gang hit man Paris Poe. Prosecutors say he killed a government witness in 2013, shooting the man at close range while his horrified step-kids screamed in the back seat of a car.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, they each face maximum life prison terms.