Wayne "Silk" Perry
Notorious Washington, DC head-hitter, Wayne "Silk" Perry was one of the baddest in the business. He was loved by some, feared by many, but respected by all. He was the Michael Jordan of the murder game. If one was to list the top five head-hitters to ever come out of the Murder Capital Silk would be number one and number two. The government has called him a hit man, a contract killer, and even DC's worst-case scenario.
Everybody has heard the stories about how Silk protected the infamous rat/Harlem drug dealer, Alberto "Alpo" Martinez. Silk allegedly dropped bodies to keep Alpo alive and Alpo repaid him by telling the feds everything and helping them seek the death penalty against Silk. That story is well known, but Silk's early life is not. Most people only know the Wayne Perry of the late 80s, but the legendary gangster has been in the mix since the 70s. Now, confined in the Control Unit of ADX with five life sentences, the man that federal prosecutors called one of the most heinous murderers in DC history is ready to shine a little light on how he became the feared and respected gangster that he is. This is the Don Diva exclusive.
DON DIVA: Why have you waited so long to share your story?
WAYNE PERRY: I really don't and haven't talked about my past in a long time because even though I speak facts and the truth, one could easily mistake the truth for arrogance. I hate arrogance. Besides that, it's a struggle to simply reach out to one's family and friends from this slave plantation, Neo Nazi camp (ADX). These racist crackers that run ADX are so foul they tear up, if not all, most of my mail, so it's difficult for me to reach anyone, and these crackers also tear up my incoming mail and lie to justify rejecting most of my mail.
DD: How much longer do you have to do in ADX?
WP: I have 18 months left in Control Unit. (Control Unit is the
most secure housing unit in the super max prison.) Insha Allah (God Willing), if I don't get my time ran up, I hope to get to pen. But most likely these Crackers are going to keep me here in ADX a while longer. I've been here 12 years. I refuse to kiss these crackers' %#&@$! or compromise. It's DBD 4 Life with me. I ain't going for NOTHING!
DD: Where did you grow up? -
WP: I was born 11-14-62 and raised in DC. I grew up down Southwest and lived on L Street. I spent a lot of the summers of my childhood in Georgia. I even put fools in the dirt down there and back then it was super racist. Crackers used to call me boy.
DD: What were you into back in those days?
WP: I was the best baseball player in DC at one time; I've been in the Washington Star several times about baseball. I grew up on sports. I lived across the street from the boys club. I boxed, played basketball, baseball, and football and was always the MVP, but I was caught up in that gangster stuff.
DD: Where did you get the name Silk from?
WP: I got the name Silk from my extended brother, Lop. I was real smooth in sports and with the girls when I was a kid. I was 12 or so when Lop gave me that name. Lop was my idol, the thoroughest and baddest joker I ever knew.
DD: What were your high school days like?
WP: I went to Wilson High School. I got locked up in 79 for shooting the hall monitor man. But I really didn't shoot him. The
dude who did it and his crew blamed it on me because it was a
riot, SW against NW, and I kicked it off by punishing this older joker from NW, but I didn't have a weapon. It was known that
I wouldn't tell and I'd ride it out so they lied on me, but I
beat it in court. I got put out of school and went to Randall
but ended up beating the baseball team coach with a bat at practice and got barred out of all DC public schools. Then I went
to Franklin GED School cause a judge ordered me to. I had to
kill a fool there for telling me he was going to take my chain.
I was real small back then so I guess he thought he could try
DD: When did you get involved in the street life?
WP: In 1974 I put my first fool in the dirt. I started hustling in 1975 and had a crew up under me. In 1976 I learned how to cheat with crooked dice, marked and cut cards. I was real good at it. Older guys I never told I was cheating used to take me all over to gamble cause they thought I was lucky. I was rich for a youngster in 77.
DD: When did you start robbing?
WP: I started robbing in 78, I started robbing banks. My little brother got killed in a bank by a pig in 79.
DD: What areas of DC did you used hang out in?
WP: Back then, I had started hanging up 17th Street NW, gambling. I was also hanging on 14th Street, and 7th and T Street NW with older guys, watching their backs while they hustled. They knew I'd shoot anybody, police, killers, gorillas, etc. I also used to go on robberies with some helleva gangsters, but they always took the bullets out of my gun cause they said I was trigger happy.
In the early 80s, Southwest, DC was the host of some of the biggest crap games in the city. Hustlers and gangsters from all over DC could be found at these crap games. By this time, Wayne Perry's name was all over Southwest and a few other spots; he had his hands in a little bit of everything. He was known to make an example out of whoever crossed the line with him as well. Silk's close comrade, and DC street legend, Sop Sop, remembers one of those examples: "They had this big crap game going on outside down Southwest one day. A lot of well known hustlers and gamblers from other parts of the city was out there. Wayne and this well known and respected dude whose name I can't recall got into it about a bet. Wayne shot him in his %#&@$! twice in front of everybody." As time went on it became clear that Wayne Perry had no problem making an example out of anybody at any time.
Despite Silk's growing notoriety in the streets, his loving parents had no idea he was into so much, especially his hard working father. Silk and his father eventually fell out because of Silk's lifestyle. During their fall out Silk spoke to his father in such a disrespectful way that his father was emotionally scarred for life. Silk's father had never heard his son speak to him in such a way. Feeling deep regret after the fall out with his father, Silk soon went to prison carrying that burden. It would be a burden that would affect him for the rest of his life.
DD: What did you go to prison for at that time?
WP: In 84 I killed a fool in front of the police, it was sort of like self-defense. I went down Youth Center.
Lorton's Youth Center was one of the most violent and aggressive prisons of its time. Convicts went to war with everything from hammers and butcher knives to lawn mower blades. Any weakness in a man was exploited to the utmost down the Center. It was truly a place that could make or break a man, and it produced many of the gangsters and street legends that took the nation's capital by storm in the late-80s and early-90s. "Wayne came down Youth Center One where myself, Titus, Gator and many other good men were," says Sop Sop. "Wayne established himself as a man among men. He then went home in the late 80s and looked out for all the men he left behind and did what he had to do to survive as a man in the streets."
DD: When did you come home from Youth Center?
WP: I came home in late 87. When I came home my father was in critical condition after having two strokes. In a short time he passed and I lost my mind and was on a death wish.
The late 80s were dangerous times in the DC streets. Gunplay was at an all-time high. At the same time, there was tons of money to be made for a man with a game plan and enough balls to put the plan into effect. Wayne Perry had both and in no time he was right back in the mix of things. Murder, robbery, drug dealing, extortion, you name it, Silk had his hands in it. "He was a master philosopher when it comes to that street %#&@$!." says Manny, a comrade of Silk's that Silk says is like a blood brother to him. "Silk had his extortion game down so tight that he took me to a spot that was owned by some major dudes in the city and said: 'Go in there and tell such and such to send a bag of that money out here and don't make me come in there and get it either.' I thought he was playing, but he was dead serious." Manny remembers. "I went in the spot and told the dude what Silk said and with no problem the dude gave me a bag full of money. Silk had niggaz scared to death." Silk didn't stop at street figures when it came to his extortion game, he went as far as extorting lawyers and Italians in Georgetown.
However, Wayne Perry's murder game is what grabbed the most attention and he was playing no games when it came to firing his pistol. When he allegedly started taking money for murder nobody was safe. If the price was right and the joker wasn't in Silk's circle he had no problem putting that work in. He was known to lay on his victims for as long as it took. There are stories of Silk sleeping in the yard of dudes that had money on their heads until he could get at them. Silk allegedly told a comrade of his: "I don't play that across the street %#&@$!, I walk right up and put seven in they head like it ain't %#&@$!." According to police and homicide detectives, one of the things that made Wayne Perry so dangerous was that he would kill where least expected. He would pop up in broad daylight and gun down a victim in the middle of a crowded outside basketball tournament. At times, it was said that he wouldn't even wear a mask, knowing that witnesses would be scared to death to talk to police.
The fear that Silk put in the hearts of some people was like no other. Even other so-called killers tried to avoid his %#&@$! list. Close friends of Silk say that he had a thing for taking down wannabe killers. He also put fear in the hearts of big drug figures that he wasn't even paying attention to at times. "When Silk was on the streets, certain niggaz wouldn't even drive their expensive cars because they didn't want him to think they were getting money." says Manny. "If you were weak or a punk you weren't supposed to have %#&@$! as far as he was concerned."
Aside from his murderous street persona, Wayne Perry still lived up to the name Silk. He would pop up out of the blue driving anything from a 560 Benz to a CE and step on the scene in top-of-the-line Versace gear without a care in the world despite the fact that he was allegedly behind a number of high profile murders in the city. He was the life of the party, extremely funny, down for a good time and always joking and playing. He joked and played so much that it was hard to tell when he was serious unless you really knew him. Without a doubt, he could be very serious in a heartbeat. Silk was also very smart and shrewd; he could run circles around the average joe in the streets. He played the streets like a game of chess, thinking his moves out several steps in advance. Loyalty was one of his strong points. If he had love for you and respected you he would stand against the world with you no matter what the odds were. "Wayne was_a_real_good dude," says Sop Sop. "A well respected man of honor. Well respected by myself and other men like me. Wayne would give a friend the shirt off his back." Silk lived by the code, but played by his own rules.
Alberto "Alpo" Martinez
DD: When did you meet Alpo?
WP: I met the rat Po in 89. I was out to destroy him over a lie a girl told me he said. I didn't know him, he was scared to death, but he was with my close comrade, Lil Pop, who asked me not to kill Po.
Silk saw a golden opportunity in dealing with Alpo at a time when coke was short in the city so he took him under his wing. Silk's protection was supposed to make Alpo off limits for the hungry wolves of the city, but they came out of the woodwork trying to get at him. About his business, Silk stepped up and put heads to bed with no questions asked. In the process, he damn near dared anyone to %#&@$! with Alpo. Soon afterward, Alpo was allegedly moving 30 bricks of coke a day at times and Silk was eating like a king. If dudes owed Alpo money and were playing games about paying Silk went to get the money and didn't care who the dude was supposed to be. One of the city's biggest drug dealers allegedly owed Alpo close to a million dollars at one time; Alpo wasn't pressing the situation, but Silk stepped to the dude and told him: "That money you owe Po ain't Po money no more, it's mine and I want that." It's said that Silk had the money the next day and kept it for himself. In a short time, Alpo had a ghetto pass and could roam DC safely, getting money. He was worth more to Silk alive than dead. As the money began to pile up, more bodies began to drop.
One of the bodies that grabbed the attention of homicide detectives was that of Garrett "Gary" Terrell. According to Alpo, he and Gary were cool at one time; he said that Gary killed Rich Porter with him. Alpo claimed that he and Gary were putting money together to cop $6,000,000 worth of cocaine; the deal was to put up $2,000,000 and owe $4,000,000. Alpo was to put up $1,500,000 and let Gary get down with $500,000. According to Alpo, Silk learned that Gary planned to kill Alpo in the process of the deal. Gary turned up shot seven times and dumped naked in Rock Creek Park.
As time went on, the money and murder became a blur. At the
same time, the FBI and DC homicide detectives were hearing the name Wayne Perry in connection with too many murders. The heat was on and law enforcement went after Silk. However, Silk allegedly put an end to investigations and court cases by putting an end to witnesses. Alpo told federal prosecutors that Wayne Perry caught one female that was about to testify against him and ended up stabbing her in the face and head before shooting her five times and dumping her body on 295. Alpo claimed that Silk had a thing for torture.
By 1992, Wayne Perry was in jail in Prince George's County, MD where he was being held on a number of charges, but nothing that would lay him down for a long time. After all, he was still Silk, he knew how to beat cases. As Silk appeared in court in December of 1992 to plead guilty to one count of selling a counterfeit substance to an undercover, he was arrested by the Safe Streets Task Force and charged with first-degree murder in the October 23, 1991 slaying of Garrett "Gary" Terrell in the furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise. The beginning of the end was at hand, but Silk remained firm and kept his mouth closed even though he was facing a life sentence if convicted for the murder in DC.
Meanwhile, Alpo was already in jail on cocaine distribution charges. He'd shown signs of weakness from the jump, The Washington Post reported that as Alpo appeared in court after his November 1991 arrest he "sniffled loudly as tears welled up in his eyes." Alpo soon began to cooperate with the feds, who really wanted Wayne Perry.
On March 5, 1993, federal prosecutors unsealed a 27-count indictment charging Wayne Perry, Tyrone Price and Michael Jackson with committing murder in the furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise for the execution of nine people, conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, racketeering conspiracy, retaliating against a witness, kidnapping and robbery. The indictment was based on the cooperation of Alpo, who had already pleaded guilty to ordering multiple murders. According to the indictment, Silk, Price and Jackson were paid by Alpo for killings in drugs or money. The drug operation allegedly shipped more than 500 kilograms of cocaine into DC between 1989 and 1991. Silk was allegedly responsible for eight of the nine murders/ he was also identified by law enforcement as the "premiere shooter" and "hit man" for the so-called drug gang headed by Alpo.
In June of 1993, the government decided to seek the death penalty against Wayne Perry in federal court, his case was the first death penalty case brought in DC since 1971. The last execution was in 1957, when Robert Carter was electrocuted for killing a police officer. In an effort to get the death penalty approved by Attorney General Janet Reno, prosecutors filed a list of alleged aggravating factors stating that Wayne Perry was responsible for killings for hire, torture, kidnappings and retaliation against witnesses. Silk was the only defendant that was to face death on his case. Reporters present in court when Silk learned that he would face death said that he smiled despite having heard the grim news.
DD: How did you feel when you learned that you would face the death penalty?
WP: I went with the flow, I don't fear nothing and no one but God!
After a number of ups and downs, betrayals and double crossings, Wayne Perry pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to five counts of murder in the furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise for the killings of Domenico Benson, who was shot as he shook Alpo's hand; Evelyn Carter, who was allegedly cooperating with police, she was shot in the head at close range leaving Constitution Hall; Yolanda Burley; Alveta Hopkins; and Garrett "Gary" Terrell. Silk was immediately sentenced to five life sentences. In March of 1994, at 31 years old, Wayne Perry's run in the streets was over.
DD: Why did you plead guilty to the murders?
WP: I didn't cop out because of the death penalty. I live to die. I copped out to make sure others didn't get life. I took the bull by the horns to save others. That's the kind of man I am.
DD: After everything that went down, what are you feelings about Alpo?
WP: Make no mistake about it, Po is a spineless coward, a rat of the highest order. I will never understand how people praise and romanticize snitches, rats and sell-outs. I would die a thousand deaths before I ever compromised my principles as a
man. As I think back, I always knew Po was weak and capable of everything he displayed. I had my reasons for not putting him in the dirt. I should have put the barrel in his mouth!
DD: Do you have any advice for the younger generation?
WP: It's important that they never take the field and play the game that has no ending and no winners. The game has been tainted by rats. Nowadays, you can't trust guys in the game, especially the ones that seem to be winning because as soon as the heat comes down they're selling out. Kingpins are telling on foot soldiers and etc.
DD: Is it true that you legally changed your name?
WP: Yeah, my name is Nkosi Shaka Zulu-El. I got rid of my slave name and took on the Zulu name because they are a strong Black blood line of our ancestors who are the most hated Blacks of all time. I'm also Muslim now and my fate lies in the hands of Allah, the Most High.
Although Silk is gone he will always be remembered as one of the few that lived by the code and stood for death before dishonor, no matter what the cost.