Eight alleged gang members from across the metro Atlanta area have been sent to federal prison after they participated in a conspiracy that led to the 2017 murder of a 17-year-old they suspected of “snitching,” federal officials said.
Gary Terrell Davis, 36, of Cartersville, became the final co-defendant to get prison time when his sentence was handed down Wednesday, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan said in a news release. Buchanan said Davis is a suspected member of the 135 Pirus gang, a street gang started in Compton, California, that has a national presence.
Davis answered to the lead defendant in the case, 32-year-old Maurice Antonio Kent, who had leadership authority over 135 Pirus territory in Cartersville and Rome, according to Buchanan.
The case centered on Kent’s suspicion that a 17-year-old suspected gang affiliate “snitched” on him after Kent shot and seriously injured two people May 13, 2017, outside of a Brookhaven nightclub, Buchanan said. After an argument broke out between a 135 Pirus gang member from California and a member of a rival gang, Kent fired multiple shots into a crowd, critically wounding the rival gang member and a security guard.
Kent fled and tossed his gun out of his car window before he was apprehended by police, according to Buchanan. It was recovered by his alleged fellow gang members.
While Kent was in custody, he learned that the 17-year-old had been questioned by police and came to believe the teen was “snitching,” Buchanan said. Based on that suspicion, several 135 Pirus gang members lured the teen to an isolated location in Bartow County and killed him “execution-style,” two days after the Brookhaven shooting, according to Buchanan. The gun Kent had discarded was used in the killing, prosecutors said.
During Kent’s trial, he was also accused of committing a drive-by shooting directed at a man standing in the front yard of his Cartersville home, Buchanan said. After the shooting, Kent threw his gun into Lake Allatoona. It was later recovered by the FBI and matched to the cartridge casings and a bullet found at the shooting scene.
After being found guilty by a jury on multiple charges, Kent was sentenced Aug. 24 to 40 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
In addition to Davis and Kent, several other alleged members of the 135 Pirus gang received significant prison sentences.
Christopher Nwanjoku, 30, a suspected leader of the 135 Pirus gang in Lawrenceville, and Maurice Kent’s twin brother Michael Kent were each sentenced to at least 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges.
Jamel Dupree Hughes, 28, of Atlanta, and Cedric Sams Jr., 30, of Cartersville, each pleaded guilty to murder in the aid of racketeering, among other charges, and were sentenced to at least 20 years in prison.
Jennifer Foutz, 30, of Acworth, and DaSean Dorsey, 26, of Decatur, both pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a murder in the aid of racketeering. They each received prison sentences of at least a decade.
“The members of the 135th Street Pirus gang were willing to violently assault and kill people for the smallest perceived sign of disrespect,” FBI Atlanta spokeswoman Keri Farley said.
“The pain and fear these defendants caused through their senseless violence has forever altered the lives of the victims, the victims’ families, and the witnesses brave enough to assist investigators,” Buchanan said. “At-risk teens remain vulnerable to the lure of gang culture and require our collective diligence to avoid this dangerous path.”
About the Author
Credit: Family contributed photo