Black Gangster Disciples pleads guilty to voluntary manslauder

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- It cost a Black Gangster Disciple leader at least 15 years in prison for his part in beating a would-be gang member to death.

Wanting to join the gang with "respect," Reginald Richardson chose to take a beating from other members as part of an initiation. He died from injuries he suffered in the beating.

Gregory Jermaine Marshall pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and street gang participation on Friday in Dougherty Superior Court.

Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette sentenced Marshall to 20 years in prison, with a minimum 15 to be served. Probation would last at least another 20 years.

As part of Marshall's plea agreement, he would have to testify truthfully against any of the other gang members who go to trial for the June 2009 beating death.

According to Assistant District Attorney Matt Breedon, Marshall gave a statement on video telling about the beating and naming other Black Gangster Disciples.

"My client would like an immediate transfer to state prison," said Roosevelt Carter, Marshall's attorney.

Two other gang members involved in the crime took pleas before Marshall came into court, smiling at his two female family members who were in the courtroom.

Cory Jackson, who was not present at the beating, pleaded guilty to concealing a death and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. He was sentenced to time served and 10 years on probation.

Antonio Crapps pleaded guilty to the same charges, but was sentenced to 25 years with at least seven years in prison, with 10 years probation. Crapps had made clear his desire to join the criminal organization by taking an initiation beating after Richardson, Lockette said.

Other gang members -- Orlando Charlot, David Freeman, Yaaeil Narvell Shelton and Douglas Luther Shealy -- took pleas on various charges in the murder earlier in the year. Chanel King, girlfriend of Crapps, also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the homicide.

All the gang members were forbidden to have any contact with other gang members or the defendants in this case. Crapps was allowed to have contact with King.

Three indicted gang members in the case remain: George Edward Ferguson, Jason Staples and Ernest Thomas.

Their trial is scheduled for July 18, but might not proceed because a fourth gang member was recently arrested and, as of Friday, had not been indicted. Sherman DeJaun Northern was arrested July 8 in connection with the homicide.

If he is to be tried with the three whose cases are still pending, he would first have to be indicted and assigned a lawyer.

"Next week's trial may be postponed," Lockette said. "Otherwise, I'll have to try the case all over again."