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Can RICO conviction start a trend? DA tells gang members to put guns down, pull pants up

5 months 1 week 4 days ago Thursday, February 08 2024 Feb 8, 2024 February 08, 2024 7:10 PM February 08, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW ROADS — Prosecutors perhaps have another way to fight gangs in their communities. A westside district attorney this week won a racketeering conviction against five people from the "Young and Wreckless" gang in New Roads.

"They went low, we went RICO," District Attorney Tony Clayton said, referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The trial, which ended Thursday, marked the first time a state prosecutor tried gang members together under the law.

The five men convicted of second-degree murder were Tyler Breaux, 20; Tyzontae Davis, 23; Dequan Johnson, 23; Nicholas Johnson, 21; and Marlon Jones, 24. 

"Quarter baby-ripped his shirt apart, the other ones were acting up, family members were screaming, kudos to the sheriff's office for handling the situation, it could've been bad," Clayton said.

The five men are accused of shooting and killing 43-year-old Eugene Jarreau III in his New Roads home on January 21, 2021. Jarreau was shot more than a dozen times. Clayton says the group was also tied to several other shootings in the parish.

Clayton said that using the RICO statute was intended to ramp up prosecutions of gang members, regardless of whether they are the actual triggerman in a violent crime.

“We are sending the message that if you are involved in gang activity, even if you are not the shooter, you will be prosecuted. We are coming after you and we will prosecute to the fullest extent possible,” Clayton said.

Clayton hoping the unprecedented trial sends a message to those participating in illegal gang activity.

"I hope this jury message resonates with these young folks out here. Stop it. Put the guns down. Pull your pants up. Go educate yourselves and become productive citizens," Clayton said.

Sentencing is set for April 10.

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