WASHINGTON – A federal jury in Nashville, Tenn., has convicted two Bloods gang members for their roles in the murder of three individuals, a racketeering conspiracy and committing firearms offenses, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin for the Middle District of Tennessee and Special Agent in Charge Glenn N. Anderson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Nashville Field Division.
Keairus Wilson, 22, aka “Key-Thang,” of Nashville, and Rondarius Williamson, 21, also of Nashville, were convicted yesterday in U.S. District Court in Nashville.
Wilson was found guilty on eight counts, including the murders of Michael Goins and Alexandra Franklin. He also was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, using and carrying firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence, and conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence.
Williamson was found guilty on seven counts, including the murder of Andreus Taylor. He also was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, using and carrying firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence, and conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence.
“This Nashville jury has convicted two dangerous members of the Bloods gang for acts of murder and other violent crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The evidence showed, among other things, that Mr. Wilson shot and killed two people and Mr. Williamson shot and killed another person. For their terrorizing conduct, they now each face mandatory life prison terms. To date, 37 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial in Nashville for their involvement with the Bloods. Through coordinated investigations and prosecutions of the Bloods, Crips, Aryan Brotherhood, Latin Kings, MS-13 and other violent gangs across the country, this Justice Department is working hard to make our communities safer.”
“The verdicts in this case demonstrate the unwavering commitment of the law enforcement agencies and the prosecution team to hold those accountable who insist on creating an atmosphere of violence and sustaining fear in our neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Martin. “We will continue to vigorously pursue those who engage in such activity and bring them to justice.”
“Jurors in Nashville have sent a loud and clear message with regard to Kearius Wilson and Rondarius Williamson,” said ATF Special Agent In Charge Anderson. “A lifelong sentence to the Bureau of Prisons could be on the horizon for both of these individuals. Criminal activity involving senseless acts of murder, gun crimes and other gang-related activity to promote their lifestyle will always be a concern of the law enforcement officers who have worked relentlessly in this long term investigation. Other gang members in Nashville and across the United States could face similar consequences as cases like these are presented in court. Today, our neighborhoods are a safer place as this case continues to unfold through the investigative work of all the law enforcement agencies involved.”
According to evidence presented at trial, Wilson and Williamson were both members of the Bloods, a violent street gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1970s and ultimately migrated to cities throughout the United States, including Nashville. Specifically, Wilson was a member of the Eastside Skyline Piru set of the Bloods, and Williamson was a member of the Tree Top Piru set of the Bloods. The Bloods gang has a hierarchal structure and a long-term and often lethal rivalry with the Crips gang.
From approximately 2006 until December 2011, Bloods gang members committed and conspired to commit acts of murder, attempted murder, robbery and drug trafficking. Evidence at trial showed that the Bloods gang members met regularly to plan and agree upon the crimes to commit, including murder; maintained and circulated a collection of firearms for use in criminal activity by Bloods members; distributed cocaine, cocaine base, marijuana and hydromorphone; and used the proceeds of those drug transactions to help finance the gang’s illegal activities. Bloods gang members committed murder and other acts of violence against rival gang members and others during the course of the conspiracy.
According to evidence presented at trial, Wilson and Williamson committed or conspired to commit numerous racketeering acts, including shooting at three different individuals and possessing and selling drugs. In addition, evidence specifically showed that Wilson shot and killed Goins on June 14, 2008, and shot and killed Franklin on July 19, 2008. Evidence also showed that Williamson shot and killed Taylor on May 18, 2009, and robbed and carjacked an individual on Oct. 31, 2009.
Wilson and Williamson face mandatory penalties of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger scheduled sentencing for July 5, 2012.
Thirty-five individuals have pleaded guilty in the Middle District of Tennessee to various crimes related to their involvement in the Bloods gang. Kenneth Gaddie, aka “K.G.,” remains a fugitive.
Lonnie Greenlee, co-founder of the Galaxy Star Drug Awareness and Gang Prevention Center in Nashville and father of lead defendant Lonnie Newsome, allowed Bloods gang members to use the facility to conduct gang meetings. According to evidence presented at trial, Greenlee provided numerous Bloods gang members with fraudulent documentation of court-ordered community service hours in exchange for money. Greenlee pleaded guilty in May 2011 to one count of racketeering conspiracy. His sentencing is scheduled for April 2, 2012.
The investigation was a joint operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; U.S. Marshals Service; the LaVergne, Tenn., Police Department; and the Davidson County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Cody L. Skipper of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scarlett M. Singleton for the Middle District of Tennessee.