Gang Member Convicted of Murdering Two Individuals in the Dickerson Court and Harbor Homes Neighborhoods
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Perry Cousins, 26, of Newport News, Va., was convicted by a federal jury of murdering two people as part of his activities with the violent street gangs operating in Newport News. Several co-defendants previously pled guilty to violent criminal acts associated with their participation in gang activity.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Division; James D. Fox, Chief of Newport News Police, and Howard E. Gwynn, Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney, made the announcement after the jury returned the verdict before United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
“Perry Cousins was a leader of a ruthless, violent gang who spread fear and havoc throughout Newport News,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “The gang was so brazen they firebombed a police station in an attempt to intimidate both law enforcement and the surrounding community. The FBI and Newport News Police Department did an exceptional job of building a strong case against a criminal who had terrorized the community for years. But our work isn’t done, and we continue to partner together to lock up violent gangs in Newport News.”
“The sentencing of Perry Cousins demonstrates the severe consequences of gang membership as well as the collective commitment of federal, state and local law enforcement to protect our communities and secure the quality of life we all deserve,” said FBI SAC Turner. “We will not cease our efforts until we see change in the minds of those who believe that gang membership is acceptable.”
“Once again, this is a perfect example of excellent cooperation and team work between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the United States Attorney and the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the tenacious work done by excellent investigators,” said Chief Fox of Newport News Police Department. “As we continue to work with our crime fighting partners, the message to the criminal element and the community is that we in law enforcement will continue to track down and prosecute those responsible for crimes in Hampton Roads. This should send a clear message to young people and adults alike who are members of gangs and who are terrorizing our community that we are not going to allow you to control and terrorize our neighborhoods by committing violent crimes. This is a clear example of how your career will end. Mr. Cousins’s days of terrorizing and killing are over because of this investigation and trial and our community is a safer place now that he is no longer part of it. The community should be thanking the investigators and prosecutors for the successful outcome in the very complicated case.”
According to the evidence introduced at trial, Cousins was a member of an enterprise that consisted of three gangs, the “Slump Mobb,” the “Dump Squad,” and “Bang Gang,” all criminal organizations that operated in the Ridley Circle, Harbor Homes and Dickerson Court areas of Newport News, Va. The defendants established the power and prestige of the enterprise through violence. Cousins was charged and convicted of the murders of Rashed Caudle on Aug. 9, 2003, and Lorenzo Thomas on Sept. 12, 2005, as well as the pistol-whipping of a third individual.
This case was investigated by the Safe Streets Peninsula Task Force operating out of the FBI’s Newport News Resident Agency, with assistance from the Newport News Police Department and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Howard Zlotnick and Robert Bradenham, II prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.