OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
APRIL 9, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CUT THROATS GANG
COLUMBIA MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON
FOR DRIVE-BY SHOOTING
AMONG SIX MORE DEFENDANTS SENTENCED FOR
DRUG TRAFFICKING, ILLEGAL FIREARMS
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that six more defendants have been sentenced in federal court for their involvement in illegal drug trafficking and firearms in association with the Cut Throats gang.
Brandon James Isom, 20, of Columbia, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey this morning to 20 years and two months in federal prison without parole. Robert Lee Jones, 20, of Kansas City, Mo., Michael Lee Stapleton, 24, of Fayette, Mo., and Donna C. Coats, 40, Diondre Jamel Cooper, 21, and Ryan Montez Kee, 23, all of Columbia, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey on Thursday, April 8, 2010. Jones was sentenced to 10 years and one month in federal prison without parole. Stapleton was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Coats was sentenced to eight years in federal prison without parole. Cooper was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. Kee was sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison without parole.
Isom, Cooper and Stapleton have each pleaded guilty to their roles in a drive-by shooting that occurred on May 31, 2008, at a Petro Mart gas station at 3300 Falling Leaf in Columbia. The shooting was in retaliation for an earlier incident in which a rival gang had shot a member of the Cut Throats. About a year earlier, on June 2, 2007, a member of the Louie Bound group shot a member of the Cut Throats at a Break Time gas station on Smiley Lane in Columbia, in part due to a territorial dispute over the unlawful distribution of crack and powder cocaine. Isom had also been shot by another member of Louie Bound at a park in Columbia on April 16, 2008.
Isom, Cooper and Stapleton went to the gas station on May 31, 2008, to get revenge and to intimidate rivals of their unlawful drug-trafficking operation. Isom admitted that he shot a firearm at the person they mistakenly believed had shot their associate. There were several persons on the crowded lot at the time of the shooting. Isom, who was in a separate car, shot a Glock 10 mm handgun toward the crowded lot then drove off. Co-defendant William Ricky Boyd, 22, of Columbia, who was in the car with Stapleton, Cooper and co-defendant Robert Darnell Simmons, 37, of Columbia, also shot into the crowded lot then drove away. The individual, who actually was not the person they believed had shot their associate, was hit in the face. Boyd and Simmons have each pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
Isom pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and cocaine from January 2007 to September 2008. During this period, conspirators carried firearms to protect themselves and their drug-trafficking business. They also would use force to collect debts and intimidate others. During the period of the criminal conspiracy, they distributed at least a pound of crack cocaine and at least a kilo of powder cocaine. Isom also pleaded guilty to one count of firing a weapon into a group of people in furtherance of a major drug offense, with the intent to intimidate, injure and maim, as well as to one count of using a firearm in a crime of violence.
Cooper and Stapleton each pleaded guilty to their roles in a conspiracy to illegally possess firearms in furtherance of a major drug offense, and to fire a weapon into a group of persons with the intent to intimidate, injure and maim. Cooper admitted that he and others passed firearms between themselves and stored firearms for each other. Although Cooper was prohibited from possessing firearms due to a prior felony conviction, he admitted that he possessed firearms on occasion and also passed firearms to others who were also prohibited from possessing the firearms.
Stapleton also pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine. In addition to the Petro Mart drive-by shooting, Stapleton admitted that two more drive-by shootings occurred during the course of the conspiracy – a June 2, 2007, shooting near a Break Time gas station at 1000 Smiley Lane, Columbia, and a Jan. 1, 2008, shooting near a BP gas station at 800 Stadium, Jefferson City. At least one person was injured in each of those shootings.
Jones pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to illegally possess and to aid and abet others to illegally possess firearms and to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Jones also pleaded guilty to one count of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a drug-trafficking conspiracy and to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jones admitted that he was in possession of a loaded Norinco SKS assault rifle, which he used to aid in the drug-trafficking operation. Jones, who has a prior felony conviction for unlawful use of a weapon, was also in possession of ammunition and a bullet-proof vest.
Kee pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Jones and Kee were pulled over for traffic violations on I-70 in Boone County, Mo., on July 8, 2008. Law enforcement officers discovered cocaine and marijuana in their vehicle, which they admitted they were transporting for the purpose of re-distribution.
Coats pleaded guilty to using a telephone to facilitate the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Coats is the mother of co-defendants Koda Alshawn Coats, 23, and, Eric Sherron Coats, 22, who were sentenced yesterday.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony P. Gonzalez and Lawrence E. Miller and Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven Berry, who has been appointed a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to assist in this prosecution. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Boone County, Mo., Prosecutor’s Office, the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Mo. Department of Corrections and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at