Plea offers coming in Albany gang murder trial - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Plea offers coming in Albany gang murder trial

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –A murder case against eight suspected Albany gang members is moving forward, but prosecutors say some of the gangsters are turning on each other.

The accused Black Gangsta Disciples went to court Friday so a judge could hear motions before their trial in the gang initiation beating death of a man last June.

One suspect has already accepted a plea deal.   Prosecutors expect others to do the same.

Eight of the men, called by Prosecutors the hierarchy of Albany's Black Gangsta Disciple gang, are charged with murder. Today most were in the courtroom for hearings to deal with motions leading up to their trial. But plea deals to be offered by the District Attorney next week was the big news.

Lawyers for the Black Gangsta Disciple defendants made motions, getting ready for trial. Plans now are for all eight to be tried at the same time, most likely in September. Prosecutors say they were involved in the beating death of former prison guard Reginald Richardson, while he was being inducted into the gang.

State-provided defense lawyers from Americus, Tifton, even Statesboro are being brought in so that each suspect will have his own lawyer.

33 year old Gregory Marshall, who Investigators say is called G-1 because he is the leader of the Black Gangsta Disciples, asked for a change of venue, to move his trial out of Albany.

District Attorney Greg Edwards told the lawyers that he will offer all the BGD's plea deals next week, and all the lawyers said they would have to study the offers.

D.A. Greg Edwards said "They will have the option of accepting the offers or going to trial."

April 5th Yaaeill Shelton pled guilty to aggravated assault and gang terrorism, and agreed to testify against the other suspects. The D.A. said David Freeman has agreed to plead guilty to charges next week. Lawyers in today's hearing said they would hold all their motions until hearing their client's offers next week.

Corey Jackson's attorney Sam Merritt said "I have no idea what the offers are going to be. But they would have to be pretty good for my client to want to plea."

The District Attorney said he was not surprised that the Black Gangsta Disciples were grabbing the plea deals, rather than facing murder charges.

Edwards said "Generally all of the gang loyalties that supposedly are part of it are not true."

Lawyers at Friday's hearing successfully argued that their clients should not be videotaped in the courtroom, because they were afraid that would prejudice the jury pool for their upcoming trial.

The District Attorney said he knows all the other gang members in Albany are closely watching this murder trial, and he says he is glad they are, to let them know that gang crimes will be prosecuted.

Judge Willie Lockette did not set a definite trial date but said most likely it would be held in September.

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