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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vice Lords Gang Member Who Escaped Prison After Murder Conviction in Tennessee Sentenced to Life in Prison

WASHINGTON – Vice Lords gang member Jessie Lobbins was sentenced today in Nashville, Tenn., to life in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin for the Middle District of Tennessee.
On Aug. 23, 2011, Lobbins, 26, aka “Jessie Oliver” and “Trap,” of Memphis, Tenn., along with co-defendants Roger Wayne Battle, 30, aka “T-Wayne,” of Nashville, Tenn., and Gary Eugene Chapman, 32, aka “Wheat,” of Morristown, Tenn., were found guilty by a federal jury in Nashville of numerous violent crimes.  To date, six other individuals have pleaded guilty to various crimes related to their involvement in the Vice Lords gang. 

Specifically, Lobbins was found guilty on six counts, including for his role in the murder of Brandon Harris, aka “Chicago”; conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering; carrying and using firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence; assault with a dangerous weapon resulting in serious bodily injury of a federal inmate in aid of racketeering; and tampering with a witness.  In addition, on March 21, 2012, Lobbins pleaded guilty to escaping from the custody of the Attorney General on Nov. 30, 2011, while being housed at the Robertson County, Tenn., jail.

According to evidence presented at trial, Battle, leader of the Traveling Vice Lords, holding the rank of Five Star Universal Elite and controlling the Middle and East Tennessee regions, and Lobbins, a member of the Traveling Vice Lords, shot and killed Harris on Feb. 10, 2008.  Battle believed that Harris, who was a member of the Mickey Cobras, a gang aligned with the Vice Lords, had made statements regarding Battle having some involvement in the death of Donnell Valentine, aka “Hitman,” the leader of the Conservative Vice Lords in Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Subsequently, Battle lured Harris to O’Charley’s, a restaurant on Bell Road in Nashville, under the guise of a drug transaction.  Lobbins accompanied Battle to the location.  Battle and Lobbins then led Harris to Rice Road in Antioch, Tenn., where Battle and Lobbins shot Harris to death. 

Evidence presented at trial also established that on Nov. 21, 2009, Lobbins, while being housed at the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center in Nashville on the current charges, assaulted inmate Maurice Boyd for providing information to federal authorities regarding a homicide involving Lobbins’s fellow gang members.  Specifically, Lobbins violently attacked Boyd with a sharp object, cutting Boyd on the face, back and left forearm.  Although Boyd survived the attack, he was treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where he received more than 200 stitches.
Co-defendants Chapman and Battle are scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2012, and June 8, 2012, respectively. 
The investigation was a joint operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Murfreesboro Police Department; and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Van S. Vincent for the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Cody L. Skipper of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.  

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014