He died in his mother’s arms on the eve of Mother’s Day 2014. Despite being only 9-months-old, KenDarious Edwards Jr. was not too young to be targeted by a gang leader.
The order came from behind bars at Autry State Prison, where Kenneth Eric Jackson, head of the Bloods-affiliated Sex Money Murder gang in Georgia, communicated his plans through a cellphone someone had smuggled inside, according to an indictment announced Tuesday by DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James.
“We are in a war with gangs in DeKalb County, and too many innocent people are being hurt,” he said.
None more so than KenDarious, who had just begun to crawl. He was killed because his uncle violated the rules of the Bloods, James said.
“It is about as terrible a thing as I’ve seen in 17 years as a prosecutor,” he said.
For ordering the hit, Jackson is charged with malice murder, felony murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault and violation of Georgia’s Street Gang and Terrorism Act.
Facing the same charges are Marco Watson and Christopher Florence, who, along with Devin Thomas, forced their way into the home of KenDarious’ grandmother in May 2014. Thomas, a mid-level member of Sex Money Murder, was convicted in November 2015 of shooting the bullets that killed KenDarious as his mother cradled the infant in her arms.
Watson, according to James, participated as part of his initiation into Sex Money Murder.
“They’re recruiting very aggressively,” the district attorney said.
Also indicted is Eunice English, charged with one count each of kidnapping and aggravated assault for intimidating a witness who was cooperating with police.
This is the latest in a string of indictments targeting gang activity. James said it illustrates the reach of national gangs such as the Bloods and the Gangster Disciples, who began infiltrating DeKalb and other parts of metro Atlanta about five years ago.
KenDarious’ mother, Tanyika Smith, was hit eight times as she held her infant son while hiding in a bathtub that bloody day in 2014. She suffered permanent damage to her vision and sense of smell and taste when one of the bullets lodged in her face.
Her brother, Oslushsla Smith, a member of Sex Money Murder, was convicted of killing 17-year-old Alexis Malone, also in the Bloods. Smith, according to DeKalb prosecutors, had become concerned that Malone had talked to the cops about the fatal shooting of Michael Phillips, 29, who was killed in a Stone Mountain apartment where a group had gathered to watch boxer Floyd Mayweather defend his title.
But Malone’s murder was unauthorized. So Smith’s family had to pay.
“You need permission to kill another gang member,” James said.
The order may have come from the very top. James said at the time of the murders Jackson was in “continual communication” with Sex Money Murder’s national second-in-command, Robinson Lazala, who was incarcerated with Peter Rollock, the gang’s leader, in “Supermax,” the Colorado federal penitentiary that houses the nation’s most dangerous criminals.
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