Following a seven-week jury trial in U.S. District Court earlier this year, a federal jury convicted five members of the Gangster Disciples of multiple counts relating to a racketeering conspiracy and a drug distribution conspiracy, according to a press release.
These crimes plagued the Clarksville area with violence and murders for more than a decade, the press release quoted U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee as saying. The release also quoted Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Marcus Termaine Darden, aka, “Tuff,” 41, and Elance Justin Lucas, aka, “Mac Luke,” 30, both of Guthrie, Kentucky; Derrick Lamar Kilgore, aka, “Smut,” 35, and DeCarlos Titington, aka, “Los,” 44, both of Clarksville, were convicted at trial.
Following sentencing hearings that began last week and concluded this week, Chief U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. sentenced Darden, Kilgore, Titington and Lucas to 40 years, 35 years, 22.5 years, and 20 years in prison, respectively.
Of the 12 individuals charged in this conspiracy, five previously pleaded guilty, including Rex Whitlock, aka “Stackhouse,” 34, of Clarksville, who was sentenced in January to 30 years in federal prison, and Lorenzo Brown, aka “Zo,” of Murfreesboro, who was sentenced in November to 15 years in federal prison.
“According to evidence and testimony at trial, the defendants are all members of the Gangster Disciples, a criminal organization that originated in Chicago and spread through the midwestern and eastern United States. During a portion of the conspiracy, Marcus Darden was the ‘regent’ of the ‘615 region’ of the Gangster Disciples, making him the highest-ranking member of the gang in the middle Tennessee area. In that role, Darden exercised control over Gangster Disciples activities in Clarksville, Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Gallatin, among other cities. Darden also reported to a statewide ‘governor’ of the Gangster Disciples,” according to the press release.
“Members of the Gangster Disciples criminal enterprise engaged in acts of violence including murder, attempted murder, witness intimidation, and obstruction of justice. These members also sold powder cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, and other controlled substances, and exercised control over certain territories in Clarksville. As part of the conspiracy, each defendant agreed that a member would commit at least two acts of racketeering activity for the Gangster Disciples.”
The press release went on to say the evidence at trial proved the defendants and other members of the Gangster Disciples murdered members of the rival Bloods gang in Clarksville, including Jessie Hairston in September 2007. The evidence also showed that, in January 2006, and as part of the Gangster Disciples’ effort to consolidate power in Clarksville, Marcus Darden shot a rival Crips gang member, who was life-flighted to Vanderbilt Medical Center for treatment.
“In December 2007 Darden also shot an unarmed person in the parking lot of a nightclub because that individual had ‘disrespected’ him. These defendants were also responsible for a drive-by shooting in Clarksville in August 2014 targeting members of the rival Vice Lords gang. During this shooting, members of the Gangster Disciples, including Derrick Kilgore, rode through a residential neighborhood and began firing AK-47 style assault weapons. During this incident, four innocent bystanders, including a 16-year-old, were struck by gunfire and were transported to a local hospital for treatment. One woman was shot three times in the abdomen and suffered serious, life-threatening injuries,” the press release said.
“DeCarlos Titington also attempted to shoot and kill two members of the rival Vice Lords gang after a brawl inside a convenience store in Clarksville in December 2014. During this incident, Titington fired 14 rounds from a Glock semi-automatic handgun, striking a vehicle occupied by rival Vice Lord gang members. Titington pleaded guilty to this conduct in state court, and although he was acquitted of federal attempted murder in aid of racketeering charges in connection with this conduct, he was convicted on a racketeering conspiracy charge which encompassed this conduct.”
The press release said these violent acts were intended to further the gang’s activities and maintain and increase a member’s position within the organization. Evidence at trial also established that the defendants engaged in witness intimidation through violence or threats of violence and prevented or deterred individuals from cooperating with law enforcement.
“Additionally, the government introduced evidence and testimony showing that law enforcement officers conducted undercover buys of cocaine and crack cocaine from Darden, Burks, Kilgore and Lucas between 2010 and 2015,” the press release said.
“During this investigation, law enforcement also seized numerous firearms, controlled substances, and other contraband.”
This extensive investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; the Clarksville Police Department; the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office; the Murfreesboro Police Department; the Gallatin Police Department; the Kentucky State Police; the 19th Judicial District Drug Task Force; and the Hopkinsville, Kentucky Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ben Schrader of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorneys Shauna Hale and Ivana Nizich of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, are prosecuting the case.”
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