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Melvin Williams
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    (December 14, 1941-December 3, 2015)
    Born in Baltimore, Maryland
    Baltimore drug trafficker
    Served time for drug dealing (1969-73,1975-79,1985-96) and illegal handgun possession (2000-03)
    Inspiration for the character of Avon Barksdale in The Wire
    Portrayed the Deacon in 'The Wire' (2004-08)
    Nicknamed 'Little Melvin'
    By the age of 21, he had been arrested ten times for crimes including auto theft and assault, although most of the cases were either dismissed or resulted in probation.
    He was a pool hall shark before becoming a drug dealer.
    He was a vegetarian.
    Several criminal cases against him had to be dismissed when the witnesses suddenly became unwilling to testify or changed their story.
    He estimated that he earned $1 million a day from selling cocaine and heroin.
    The IRS seized his home to pay back taxes (1987).
    He pistol whipped a man over a $500 debt (1999).
    He joined the city’s more conventional civic leaders to appeal for calm after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    He was smart enough not to use the drugs he peddled, with one friend noting, ‘I’ve never seen him with even a beer. He’s very proud of his body and his health.’
    He claimed to have had an epiphany in jail: ‘Sometime in my fifties I became aware that there was a God in charge, and not a Melvin.’
    After his 2003 release, he counseled youths to steer clear of gang culture and avoid using drugs.

Credit: C. Fishel

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