By Michael E. Miller
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Kino Bartholomew caught his first drug arrest in 1996, just a few months after he turned 18. A confidential informant told cops in Margate that Bartholomew was carrying crack in the waistband of his pants. When the officers searched him, they found a plastic Krazy Glue container stashed just above his crotch with 2.5 grams of crack cocaine inside. Bartholomew told the officers that he sold crack as a source of income because he couldn't find steady work. The rocks were going for $10 apiece.
In his first police booking photo, Bartholomew looks like Kobe Bryant when he had big hair. At six-foot-two, maybe Bartholomew could have been a baller. Instead he became a hustler. Bartholomew told the officers that he was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and that he lived with his grandmother in Pompano. Bartholomew got busted with crack two more times that year; Krazy Glue containers seemed to be his hallmark transport vessel for the rocks.
He'd rattle off a different birthplace for each arrest: Fort Lauderdale, Queens, the Bronx, or simply New York City. He picked up street names such as "Slim" and "Holdem." He sported gold teeth.
In April 1999, Bartholomew fouled up big-time. He was parked in a beige 1980 Chevy outside a seedy Motel 6 just east of the Turnpike in Pompano when two Broward Sheriff's officers pulled up. Bartholomew, a felon, made a U-turn to avoid them. In an affidavit, Officer Byron Dickerson said that when he asked the young man for his driver's license, Kino pulled a silver revolver out of his right front pants pocket. "I then grabbed the defendant's hand, at which time the defendant was forced to drop the gun," Dickerson wrote. In Bartholomew's left front pocket, Dickerson said, there were 11 crack rocks inside a Krazy Glue case.
For his actions that night, Kino Bartholomew was looking at a maximum jail sentence of 35 years. The prosecutor on his case offered him 85 months. Standing before Judge Stanton Kaplan in 2000, Bartholomew asked to be considered a youthful offender. The judge said no. Bartholomew said he had a drug problem, and asked for leniency. "I'm wondering if you can take into consideration that I — I have a family out there that needs me," Bartholomew said in open court. "I just had a little girl, you know."
At that point, Judge Kaplan's patience seemed to be wearing thin. "You have told me this already," he replied. "I'm not going to take the blame. Stay away from guns, stay away from drugs, stay away from driving while your license is suspended — and then you don't need to go to jail."
Kino Bartholomew got out of jail in August 2006. The following January, he caught the first of several new drug charges. He hired defense attorney Bill Gelin to represent him. Gelin got the impression that Bartholomew genuinely wanted to straighten out and that 1st Step could help; over the years, Gelin had recommended perhaps a hundred people to 1st Step. He had also gotten to know Richard Entriken at the courthouse. Richard would regale the lawyer, who was 20 years his junior and fascinated by '60s counterculture, with tales of his days of rubbing elbows with musicians who played Woodstock.
"As soon as you met [Richard], you knew he was the real deal," says Gelin, who remembers Entriken wearing Jerry Garcia ties to court. "He'd been there. His words were weighted down with experience — you could hear it in his voice,"
Again, Kino Bartholomew went before Judge Stanton Kaplan. Richard Entriken and Chris Doherty made court appearances on his behalf, asking to have him tossed their way. The judge released Bartholomew to 1st Step in June 2007, before Bartholomew's case even went to trial. In October, Gelin wrote in a motion for alternative sentencing that Bartholomew "has a sincere desire to attend and complete a residential treatment program." Bartholomew was sentenced to complete six more months at the halfway house. That meant three AA meetings a week. Curfews. Rent. For men living without rules or responsibilities, being at 1st Step felt like boot camp. And Richard Entriken was their drill sergeant.
Chris Doherty says that, at first, Kino Bartholomew was playing in bounds. But then he dropped the ball. He'd show up late. Spend nights at his girlfriend's place in Dania Beach. "Everything with Kino was a negotiation," Doherty says. "He just didn't want to be here anymore. Richard and him had gotten into it a few times, and when Richard got upset, he was like a bull in a china factory."
Bartholomew got kicked out of the program in November. Doherty informed his probation officer of the suspension, and the judge issued a warrant for Bartholomew's arrest. Even though Bartholomew had fallen out of 1st Step's graces, though, he kept dropping by. In retrospect, Doherty believes Bartholomew was casing the place out. (Kino Bartholomew, who is being held in the county jail without bail declined to be interviewed by New Times.)
Doherty fumes at the alleged betrayal. "We both gave of ourselves for him — we would battle for anybody — but Kino turned out to be a fucking monster."