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Louisville group linked to violent crime spree facing charges of organized crime


A violent crime spree believed to be linked to gang violence on May 10 led five people to their arraignment on Monday, each facing several charges, including organized crime.”There are many many reasons for the rise in violence, but some of these cases are a result of retaliation between members of different groups of gangs,” Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown said.The five accused are Jacob Bell, Virgil Jackson, Reginald Webster, Demetrius Wiley and Ramonta Underwood. They all face charges that range from engaging in organized crime, receiving stolen property, running from police, and more.Police said the group was involved in a drive-by shooting that started at the Manslick Foodmart on Manslick Road. They’re accused of then crashing two stolen vehicles while trying to get away.The Commonwealth Attorney’s office said LMPD had been monitoring the case because of its connection to other violent incidents and car thefts.”The syndication charge reflects on all of them being in a group that acts together to promote violence, so that will be something that I have to prove that they all are in this group or gang,” Brown said.One of Wiley’s charges is wanton endangerment in the first degree while a member of a criminal gang. The prosecutor enhanced his wanton endangerment charge from a Class D felony to a Class C felony, since she believes it happened while taking part in or related to gang activity.According to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office, a 2018 law “provides for an enhanced penalty and enhanced parole eligibility for offenses that could place a member of the public at risk of physical injury or death when, at the time, the defendant was a member of a criminal gang and acting for the purpose of benefitting, promoting, or furthering the interests of the gang.”It’s the first time in Jefferson County that someone’s been charged with an enhanced charge linked to gang activity.”The additional problem is that members of the public are at risk because we’re seeing these incidents take place wherever and whenever these people run into each other,” Brown said. “It could be broad daylight, a crowded neighborhood, and it’s affecting innocent people.”Brown said this enhancement may be used again if prosecutors can prove the violence is related to gang activity.”If we have a case where there’s a crime of violence, and we believe its in furtherance of gang activity, I anticipate we will be charging that now that it’s available,” Brown said.All defendants present at the arraignment plead not guilty. Wiley, Bell and Underwood were all present at the arraignment. Webster joined via phone. Jackson was not present.The group is scheduled to be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 2.

A violent crime spree believed to be linked to gang violence on May 10 led five people to their arraignment on Monday, each facing several charges, including organized crime.

“There are many many reasons for the rise in violence, but some of these cases are a result of retaliation between members of different groups of gangs,” Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown said.

The five accused are Jacob Bell, Virgil Jackson, Reginald Webster, Demetrius Wiley and Ramonta Underwood. They all face charges that range from engaging in organized crime, receiving stolen property, running from police, and more.

Police said the group was involved in a drive-by shooting that started at the Manslick Foodmart on Manslick Road. They’re accused of then crashing two stolen vehicles while trying to get away.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s office said LMPD had been monitoring the case because of its connection to other violent incidents and car thefts.

“The syndication charge reflects on all of them being in a group that acts together to promote violence, so that will be something that I have to prove that they all are in this group or gang,” Brown said.

One of Wiley’s charges is wanton endangerment in the first degree while a member of a criminal gang. The prosecutor enhanced his wanton endangerment charge from a Class D felony to a Class C felony, since she believes it happened while taking part in or related to gang activity.

According to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office, a 2018 law “provides for an enhanced penalty and enhanced parole eligibility for offenses that could place a member of the public at risk of physical injury or death when, at the time, the defendant was a member of a criminal gang and acting for the purpose of benefitting, promoting, or furthering the interests of the gang.”

It’s the first time in Jefferson County that someone’s been charged with an enhanced charge linked to gang activity.

“The additional problem is that members of the public are at risk because we’re seeing these incidents take place wherever and whenever these people run into each other,” Brown said. “It could be broad daylight, a crowded neighborhood, and it’s affecting innocent people.”

Brown said this enhancement may be used again if prosecutors can prove the violence is related to gang activity.

“If we have a case where there’s a crime of violence, and we believe its in furtherance of gang activity, I anticipate we will be charging that now that it’s available,” Brown said.

All defendants present at the arraignment plead not guilty. Wiley, Bell and Underwood were all present at the arraignment. Webster joined via phone. Jackson was not present.

The group is scheduled to be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 2.

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