Sidikiba Greenwood sits in limbo.

The accused mastermind of a gang shooting that claimed the life of an 11-year-old San Bernardino girl and touched off a renewed war on gang violence in the city, Greenwood says he is an innocent man even as he awaits his second trial in the November 2005 shooting death of Mynisha Crenshaw.

Greenwood, pictured right, acknowledges he was a founding member of one of San Bernardino's most violent gangs. He said in a recent interview that he left that life behind to become a father and raise his children properly.

He is not the man prosecutors believe, he says.

"They're trying to put me out there like I'm some Al Capone or Gambino crime family," Greenwood said in the visiting room at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Authorities say Greenwood ordered his gang to retaliate for the shooting death of a fellow gang member. And that within hours, Mynisha was dead, shot through the walls of her family's Del Rosa-area apartment as they were having dinner.

A hung jury late last year led a judge to declare a mistrial in the case against Greenwood and three other defendants.

Greenwood, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, sat in the

visiting area with a black phone receiver in his hand during the interview last month. There was no pounding on the table nor on the thick plane of glass and steel frame containing him.

He was calm and collected. He asked for a chance to be heard.

He said he is innocent.

The authorities, he said, are "railroading" him into taking a plea bargain for voluntary manslaughter. Any agreement would likely give him less time than he faces with a conviction, which could mean life in prison.

But he insists he's not a shotcaller for the gang members accused in Mynisha's death.

"These guys are grown men," he said of the defendants. "I can't tell them what to do."

Greenwood says he knows how tough life can be in the San Bernardino Valley. He and his brother, who grew up in the area, were forced to the streets at an early age, he says. His mother used drugs and his father was on disability.

"The people, the jurors, they don't know nothing about our life," he said.

Today, his parents are dead, and the 35-year-old Greenwood says he is trying to raise his children right. Calling the shots in his own family can be tough enough.

"I'm trying to make it different for my kids," Greenwood said. "But it's tough to do from jail."

Greenwood's eldest son was recently convicted of burglary, something that wouldn't have happened if he had been there to watch over him, he said.

Greenwood also has a daughter about the same age as Mynisha was when she died. He feels sorry for Mynisha's family. He says he'd like to talk to them.

A gangbanger no more?

A founding member of one of the city's more notorious gangs - Pimps, Players, Hustlers and Gangsters - Greenwood says he is not a gang member today, hasn't "gangbanged" since the mid-1990s and points to a 1995 drug case as his only major conviction.

A search of state prison records found no commitments for Greenwood, according to the Department of Corrections press office.

San Bernardino County Superior Court records showed a handful of other cases against Greenwood that were dismissed or resolved with plea bargains that resulted in probation. In a 2003 case, he was fined $250 for possessing marijuana.

Greenwood was on probation in a 2004 marijuana-possession case at the time Mynisha was killed.

Prosecutors have said that the evidence, witness statements and even some of the defendants' statements point to PPHG's responsibility for the girl's death. And Greenwood, prosecutors say, is an "OG" and a shotcaller for that gang.

An "OG," Greenwood explains, is just someone who has been around a long time. A shotcaller, or someone who directs the work of a street gang, is something else - something he says he is not.

Greenwood views himself as a father figure to younger guys in his neighborhood, helping them out when they need it. When Shawn Davis - another suspect in the case - was kicked out of his home, Greenwood offered him food, clothing and a place to stay.

"I never turned them away," he said.

Davis and another defendant, Alonzo Monk, testified against Greenwood and three other defendants at trial last year after accepting a plea bargain from prosecutors.

A witness who testified on Greenwood's behalf at trial, Howard Cromwell, who has known Greenwood for nearly a quarter-century, told the court that he noticed changes in the defendant after Greenwood returned from spending nearly a decade in Mississippi, about six years ago.

"He seemed different, more low-key," said Cromwell, a retired California corrections officer who married Greenwood's aunt.

As someone who once worked in prison with gang members, Cromwell told jurors that Greenwood did not have a lot of money or luxury items, nor did he have the lifestyle of someone who profited from drug sales.

"To me, he wasn't doing too good," said Cromwell, who testified he often gave Greenwood rides to the grocery store.

His attorney since the mistrial, Clifton Peters, declined to comment for this report.

Authorities, however, believe Greenwood planned a retaliatory attack on a rival gang while at a carwash on Nov. 13, 2005. Several PPHG members then went to Greenwood's apartment in Highland before leaving armed to hunt down rival gang members at the Cedarwood Apartments, police detectives have testified.

He `controls that gang'

At trial last year, gang experts for the prosecution testified that the shooting that killed Mynisha could not have happened without Greenwood's blessing.

Prosecutors say a federal drug rap, police interviews, Greenwood's admission that he belonged to the gang and testimony from gang members who identified Greenwood as a shotcaller all point to his guilt.

"(Greenwood) controls that gang," San Bernardino police Detective Travis Walker testified last year at the trial.

Walker, who has been a peace officer for more than a decade and is a specially trained gang investigative officer, said members of Greenwood's gang would have scorned him had the shooting not been carried out.

Prosecutor Ron Webster told jurors last year that witnesses told police that talk about avenging the death of one of PPHG's members, Barry Jones, started at the carwash, which was planned to help raise money for Jones' family to cover funeral costs.

In the late afternoon, several members met at Greenwood's apartment, where at least two defendants were given guns, according to witnesses.

Although retaliation against a rival gang and killing were not specifically mentioned at Greenwood's apartment, at least one witness, Monk, testified he understood that to be Greenwood's intended message at the gathering.

A string of four or five cars left Greenwood's apartment, circled the block near Mountain Avenue and Citrus Street in San Bernardino and stopped once before finally settling just south of the Cedarwood Apartments, witnesses testified last year.

Davis, the defendant-turned-witness, said he fired a shot that hit no one. As the group readied to leave, another man directed them to apartment No. 22.

That's where Mynisha - who was an unintended victim and whose family has no gang ties, according to prosecutors - was having dinner with her family.

One of the bullets fatally struck the girl in the chest.

Investigators later found 36 bullet strikes and 16 casings outside the apartment.

Prosecutors say it doesn't matter which gang members fired.

"It doesn't matter who does or doesn't shoot," Webster said at trial. "It's the intent that makes each of these defendants liable for any of the crimes committed by them."

Webster declined to speak specifically about Greenwood's case because of the pending retrial of the defendant and three others: Sinque Morrison, Michael Barnett Jr. and Harold Phillips.

Seven other defendants in the case have accepted plea bargains for their roles in the shooting. One of them, however, told a judge last month that he wished to back out of his agreement.

In the weeks and months following Mynisha's death, police arrested a total of 11 suspects, all of whom authorities said were involved and whom prosecutors charged in the case.

At the same time, residents, community leaders and public officials demanded a crackdown on violence in the city and a more aggressive strategy for fighting crime.

Soon, there were street marches and community gatherings to restore peace and trust. A group called Mynisha's Circle formed to bring about change to communities where violence had steeled its grip.

The issue became a key driver in San Bernardino's mayoral race, which former Superior Court Judge Pat Morris won with a broad anti-crime campaign. He later launched Operation Phoenix pilot program and created no-crime zones in the city.

Furor over the little girl's death continued to build, reaching the national level when Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced Mynisha's Law last April to help communities suffering from gang violence.

Alleging coercion

Greenwood says he isn't the man police and prosecutors have made him out to be.

Before the trial, Greenwood says, he tried hard to be tried separately from the other defendants so jurors wouldn't see a group of black men and envision a "gang."

He also says he wanted to testify at the trial - to give his side of the story - but was threatened with the use of his co-defendants' statements against him.

"It didn't go like they said it went," he said. "Everybody is being coerced."

The case against him and the other defendants has been "bought and paid for" with plea bargains, he said.

Webster said the District Attorney's Office has not forced any of the defendants into a plea bargain. He cannot even communicate with any of them without their lawyers being present, he noted.

The case agent, police Detective Gary Robertson, has interviewed Greenwood in the past but said he couldn't comment specifically on the case because it is in progress.

However, he said, "We're looking forward to the second trial, and we're anticipating a better outcome."

Greenwood faces a murder rap that could put him in prison for the rest of his life, but he says he's not prepared to take a deal for something he didn't do.

"I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

At a glance

A planned retrial for four defendants charged with the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Mynisha Crenshaw of San Bernardino remains up in the air.

No trial dates have been set while a trio of private attorneys from Victorville, who were recently assigned to the case, get up to speed on thousands of pages of reports, interviews and transcripts and hundreds of videotapes.

The location of the new trial, whether in San Bernardino Superior Court or back at West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga, also remains a mystery.

The four defendants - Sidikiba Greenwood, Sinque Morrison, Michael Barnett Jr. and Harold Phillips - are due back in San Bernardino Superior Court for a pretrial hearing before Judge Donna Gunnell Garza on Feb. 23.

At a hearing last month, defense attorneys said they were still awaiting transcripts from the first trial, according to court records.

Two other defendants who accepted plea bargains that were contingent on helping authorities at trial - Shawn Davis and Alonzo Monk - face sentencing May 11. Prosecutors have said the two won't be sentenced, however, until the case against the other four defendants is resolved.

Five other defendants who accepted plea bargains have already been sentenced.

BS Ranch Perspective:

There is never anyone in charge when there is a gang, they are Thugs, and it is a Thug Life, so they do the Thug thing, and Kill innocent People.

The notion that there is a truce on is something that is placed upon the gangs by the Press, by the Gang's to relax their opposition only to get to the person that they are wanting to Kill the most!! So, there is never a Truce of any Kind!!

The sooner that the public gets that through their head that the press Likes to publish that the Gang has a Truce because it is a sign that the whole war is over, but it isn't you see, it goes on, it will always go on. As soon as the Government takes a serious Zero approach to Drugs, then the Gangs will aways war for that turf to sell the stuff!!

That is just, the life of a Thug!

BS Ranch