Imagine trying to defend a client accused of killing someone who comes to court with the word “murder” tattooed across his neck, says the Baltimore Sun. Or trying to convince a jury that the suspect is really a good guy even though his best friend knows him as “Bloody Batman.” With gangs gaining strength in Baltimore, nicknames are gaining popularity on the street, and more often than not it’s a nickname rather than a real name by which many are known.
A recent federal indictment in Baltimore included these suspects’ names: Sticks, Face, Tink, Pudge, Fat Boy, Slinky, Big Boy, Big Man, Gotti, Mud, Wimp, Nitty and Zitty. More and more, defense attorneys and prosecutors say, the nicknames reflect violence rather than a personality trait or physical characteristic. “Murder” and “Killer” are becoming more common as nicknames, not to mention “Savage” and various forms of the word “bloody.” Young men tattoo the names to their necks and arms, or ink teardrops under their eyes, one for each person they’ve killed. The very names and symbols reflect guilt. Defense attorney Warren Brown said he put a Band-Aid on a young client’s neck to cover the tattooed word “murder.” Prosecutors got the judge to order the covering removed, giving jurors a full view of how the defendant wanted to be known.