Jury Convicts Columbus Gang Members of Racketeering, Murder
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A United States District Court jury convicted five Short North Posse gang members of racketeering and murder today following a two-month trial.
Robert B. Ledbetter, 37, Christopher A. Harris, 28, Rashad A. Liston, 26, Deounte Ussury, 31, and Clifford L. Robinson, 38, all of Columbus, were convicted on all counts, which accounted for 10 of 14 previously unsolved homicides. Each defendant faces up to life in prison.
Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Brad Earman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the verdict reached today.
The defendants are five of 20 individuals who were indicted in October 2014 in a racketeering case, with charges that include murders, attempted murders, drug trafficking, weapons offenses, extortion and robbery.
Of the 20 total defendants, nine have pleaded guilty and one has died. The remaining five defendants are scheduled for trials on July 11 and September 26.
“These five men had perpetuated a multi-generational tradition of terrorizing Columbus neighborhoods through violence and intimidation,” Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “The verdict today has sent a clear message that their reign has ended and such behavior will not go unpunished.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the two-year investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, Columbus Police, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott’s Office, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s Office, Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx, Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt, Muskingum County Prosecutor D. Michael Haddox, Ross County Prosecutor Matthew S. Schmidt, law enforcement leaders from those counties, and officials of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys David DeVillers, Kevin Kelley and Brian Martinez and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Lowe with Franklin County Prosecutor O’Brien’s Office, who are representing the United States in this and the related cases.