October 31, 2020 – One-time New York drug don Guy Fisher got a ticket home from the federal government this week, let out of prison Wednesday on a medical pardon after 36 years behind bars on a drug and racketeering conviction from the early 1980s. The 73-year old Fisher led The Council, a syndicate of African-American heroin bosses in Harlem founded by his mentor, the notorious Nicky (Mr. Untouchable) Barnes.
Barnes and Fisher fell out over a woman and Barnes eventually became the government’s star witness in a case against Fisher and the five other “Council” members. Fisher, known for being suave and business savvy on the street, was sentenced to life in prison in 1984. He became Barnes’ acting boss in the late 1970s when Barnes got locked up and ascended to gangland royalty in the Big Apple. The residents of Harlem dubbed him a folk hero.
The woman responsible for coming in between Fisher and Barnes was Beverly (Shemecca) Ash. Fisher began romancing Ash once Barnes was away in prison. Ash and her brother Steve looked after Barnes’ interests in the drug game with him doing time.
Upon word leaking that Barnes was jumping ship to Team USA, Shemecca and Steve Ash were murdered on orders of an Italian mob associate from the Gambino crime family named Mark Reiter in a revenge plot. Reiter was close to the soon-to-be Dapper Don John Gotti, then a caporegime in the Gambino clan. Barnes had forged strong ties to the Italians in his rise through the ranks of the New York underworld, leveraging them to his advantage whenever he could.
This time those ties worked against him.
Shemecca Ash was gunned down inside The Monarch Bar in Manhattan on December 13, 1982. Steve Ash was shot to death less than a year later.
In the years before he went away, Fisher became the first-ever Black owner of the famous Apollo Theatre. During his incarceration, he earned a PHD in the sociology.
Barnes died under an assumed identity in the Witness Protection Program in 2012 at the age of 78. Both Barnes and Fisher are often name-checked in hip-hop and rap lyrics cementing their legacies in pop culture crime lore.