The Evolution of a Hitman

Nate Craft, aka Boone, slid the door to the van open and let loose with a Mac-11, but as the gun jammed and Boone cursed his luck, the white Jeep got away. He’d been planning this assassination for two weeks, tracking his target, making notes of his movements and studying his routine. If a guy on his hit list had the same routine for two days running, Boone normally got him on the third. Mishaps notwithstanding, Boone was known for getting his man — a straight killer who prided himself on not getting caught.

Cocaine was flooding the inner cites, rival dealers were painting the urban terrain red with military-style assault rifles and everyone in the streets was claiming to be the “baddest of the bad.” Boone, the Best Friends murder-for-hire gang’s No. 1 gunslinger, solidified his legacy in the chronicles of gangster lore by targeting individuals who’d been marked for death as a professional assassin. To Boone it was always business, never personal. He’s admitted to being a part of 30 murders and was so proficient that he became the go-to assassin for not only drug lords but also cops, taking contracts from anyone who could afford his asking price and pay his fee.

“In the ’80s, I was a hit man that worked for many different drug lords and kingpins. Some that weren’t even in this country,” Boone says. He was hired to “do hits” with payment upward of $50,000 a pop. “I was looking to gain anything that was $50,000 and up. C’mon with it. What you want? The guy’s head? You want his arm, you want his private parts?”

A ruthless killer and muscle-for-hire who had no regard for human life, Boone was one of the most feared men in Detroit. Newspapers called his gang the “enemies of organized society in Detroit,” and prosecutors said their reign of terror kept the entire city in constant fear. By the end of the 1980s, Boone’s reputation was as formidable as any the city’s storied underworld had ever witnessed.

“His mercenary mentality served him well. His military training made him a master at his craft,” Scott Burnstein, author of The Detroit True Crime Chronicles: Tales of Murder and Mayhem in the Motor City, says. In turn, he was seen by many — both on the street and among authorities — “as more monster than man, almost like a real-life character from a horror movie or comic book,” Burnstein adds. Boone was the criminal other criminals feared: If they saw him coming, it was time to go the other way.

But Boone did a Sammy the Bull, destroying his criminal street cred by testifying against other members of the Best Friends gang in exchange for immunity for the murders he committed. He ended up doing only 17 years in prison for his killing spree (30 drug-related homicides). With federal prosecutors hellbent on prosecuting Best Friends, an organization they claimed was responsible for more than 80 murders and thousands of kilos of cocaine hitting the streets, they were willing to give Boone a sweetheart deal.

“Boone got the deal he got because he could give the government something they wanted very badly,” Burnstein says. The gang had brought 1920s-style carnage and outright mayhem again to the streets of Detroit — the likes of which it hadn’t seen since Prohibition. So “the feds decided they could live with themselves if they made a deal with one devil to eliminate another 25.”

To Boone it wasn’t really snitching because other members of the gang had already tried to kill him. Ratting them out was simply payback, allowing him to get his revenge on former comrades who’d turned on him and illustrating the dog-eat-dog world of crime, where rules change according to the variable in play. Getting back at someone was the only sure thing. Boone was eventually released from the Witsec Unit, a special prison within a prison housing federal informants. He now resides back on the East Side of Detroit under his real name — feds refused to put him in the Witness Protection Program.

Fearing for his life at first, Boone’s now settled into a comfortable existence. He faced threats when he first moved back to Detroit, but he let people know that he wasn’t going anywhere, even doing interviews and appearing in documentaries. But he does lament that there aren’t any winners in his former vocation, only losers. “There is no such thing as retirement in the drug game — it’s prison, death or cripple,” Boone says, while his legacy and horrific crimes continue to impact his victims’ families and friends.

This piece was originally published on OZY.  If you like this check out my other articles there.

23 Comments

    1. Jackyboy101

      Boone’s been called a liar by ex-attorneys that represented he & his friends. In fact, no one including the police could identify who he murdered. Nate took credit for the murder of Demetrious Howard, and someone else was convicted for that crime after his confession

      1. Joel Hobson

        he might be a liar. But I’m willing to bet he killed at least one person and if one can kill for any other reason than self defense or to protect someone, lying wouldn’t be too much of a task for them.

    2. Jon

      Nearly 250k innocent people killed in the bombings of past .. for our country. I wish people would always factor in THEY kill people justified or not to maintain things.. and stop looking at individuals as monsters and drama bs.. NO ONE has killed as many INNOCENT as the official forces of power ever.. I’d love to party with such a dude and get insight to his life.

  1. Dennis Krieg

    I can’t help , but like Boone. I wasn’t

    ‘t nothing near his caliber, but
    I like to use my fists, so I kinda get a feel for where he was coming from. I believe

    he’s not the man he was back then. I would sure love to read that magazine article with him on the cover, that they show in #1 and #3.

  2. Eric Leetham

    The man ain’t no saint but I feel he can be a voice in the city of Detroit and help get Detroit to a better place. Yes he killed a lot of people with the life style of gang and drugs at the end I believe he said his peace within his Interview.

  3. Jay

    Only a sociopath could murder people for money and sleep good at night. Boone has the common traits of one. Highly intelligent, smooth talker and calm under pressure. Maserati Rick hired him as a bodyguard and learned the hard way that sociopaths are loyal to the highest bidder. I hope some of these young cats listen to his story and wake up before its too late.

  4. Yea I read the comments and they’re funny, however I know the kid and still talk to him now. I’ve seen all these things they speak on in ANY of these articles. But I will tell everyone: only half of it’s true from the authorities knowledge. It was much more. So just know that.

  5. The first paragraph is to be regarded as Gospel. Study your targets routine for a couple of days before doing the hit. One major mistake Nate made was not using a revolver (they don’t jam and are easier to add on a “suppressor). Twenty-first century is a blessing and a curse for a hitman, High resolution cameras are being installed on porches and traffic intersections due to the prices going down. Cellphones need to be placed in Airplane mode. GPS trackers can be put on potential targets automobile helps take out the guesswork when deciding when do your business.

  6. The first paragraph should be viewed as Gospel, follow your victim for 2-3 days to establish their routine then use a revolver instead of a Mac-11 because pistols do not jam and are easier be fitted with a noise suppressor. Noise Suppressors are plentiful out west. Nowadays instead of following your target for a couple of days, intstall a GPS tracker with a magnet on the vehicle to track your target.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *