YSL Trial: Plea deal brings number defendants going to trial down to 6

Trial is expected to start on Nov. 27
Derontae Bebee, a defendant in YSL/Young Thug trial appears in court for jury selection at Fulton County Courthouse on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.  (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Derontae Bebee, a defendant in YSL/Young Thug trial appears in court for jury selection at Fulton County Courthouse on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

A defendant in the sprawling “Young Slime Life” gang case has decided to take a plea deal after prosecutors extended him a new offer on Friday.

Derontae Bebee, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the state’s RICO Act, theft by receiving stolen property, two counts of violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, possession of a firearm by convicted felon, participation in criminal street gang activity, armed robbery (reduced to robbery by force) and hijacking a motor vehicle in the first degree.

“You don’t owe allegiance to anybody because you know who is going to serve this time? You,” Judge Ural Glanville told Bebee before he took the plea deal.

As part of his negotiated plea, Bebee was sentenced to 15 years, with five years to serve and 10 years on probation. Bebee was arrested on Nov. 17, 2021 and will receive credit for the time he has serve in jail.

“What a plea would do for you today is control the outcome of this case, for you. Meaning, you know exactly what you are going to get and you know exactly what is going to happen and there is no mystery about it,” Glanville said.

After Bebee entered his plea, Glanville advised him to move out of the area once he is out of custody and to find people who will have a positive impact in his life.

Durante Partridge, Bebee’s attorney, said his client took responsibility for his actions and is ready to turn his life around.

“(The plea deal) is an opportunity for Mr. Bebee to have another chance at life to get out and to turn his life around, which he is planning to do,” Partridge said.

Patridge said his client has been able to reflect while being held at the Fulton County Jail.

Bebee is the latest defendant to take a plea deal just days after a jury was finally seated in the case against Atlanta rapper Young Thug and his alleged associates. The number of defendants going to trial at the end of the month has been reduced to six, including the rapper, after this latest plea deal.

Eight others, including Gunna, took plea deals before jury selection began in January. The other 12 defendants’ cases have been severed for a variety of reasons. One had charges dropped after being convicted for an unrelated murder.

Bebee was offered a plea deal in December 2022 but rejected it. At the time, Deputy District Attorney Simone Hylton said Bebee faced life in prison plus an additional 95 years if he was convicted on all eight counts.

The state had offered him a 20-year sentence, with six to serve in prison and the remaining 14 years on probation. On Friday, Hylton said this new offer does not require him to testify on behalf of the state like the rejected plea offer did.

Partridge said they’ve been negotiating with the state since the plea deal was rejected last year and came to an agreement that satisfied his client Friday morning.

“He’s had two years to really think and process and talk and consult with his family, myself about what’s next,” he said.

A May 2022 indictment charged Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, Bebee and 26 of his alleged associates with violating the state’s RICO Act. A new indictment on August 2022 was released with additional charges.

Prosecutors have argued that YSL is a gang and Young Thug is one of its leaders and founders. Defense attorneys say it’s a record label.

Jury selection began in January. On Wednesday, a panel of 18 jurors, which includes 12 trial jurors and six alternates, was selected to serve on the trial that is expected to last months.