4 accused ‘Lake Boyz’ members found not guilty on racketeering, conspiracy charges
A jury found four accused gang members not guilty.
They were the first to go on trial for racketeering charges against the “Lake Boyz.”
It was a tough blow for prosecutors, but what does it mean for 18 other suspects awaiting trial?
Acquittals for all four defendants: James Brown, Kwameaine Brown, Diante Davis, and Eric Fletcher.
They faced racketeering and conspiracy charges as accused members of the “Lake Boyz” gang.
“Yep, I knew I was going home,” said defendant James Brown.
James Browns’ attorney Joe Viacava said the state failed to prove the foundation of a RICO case, how the defendants crimes were for the benefit of a larger organization.
“They didn’t spend any time developing basically what do they get from being a Lake Boy, why are they saying they’re a lake boy,” Viacava said. “They didn’t spend any time establishing how did they think and why did they think that each person was a Lake Boy.”
A case the state will have to reevaluate and present differently moving forward.
“They’re gonna have to look and see what the connection is between other crimes and why people are doing things and what’s the benefit of that,” said former U.S. prosecutor Nicole Waid
Waid said it’s a tough case to prove.
“Often times there’s information out there, but there’s actually no evidence to tie something into the individual members of the group,” Waid said. “So maybe one of the individuals is selling drugs but if its not for the benefit of the group that’s not racketeering.”
Waid said jurors need to see more concrete evidence proving the member connections, plus there’s other options to charge the defendants.
“I’d be interested to see if maybe they go back and actually recharge,” Waid said. “Think about a different way to charge some of these defendants if the court will allow that.”
The state said they cannot comment because it’s an active investigation with more cases pending. No date has been set for the next accused “Lake Boyz” trial.