A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted alleged gang members on racketeering and murder charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says six members of the United Blood Nation gang played a role in the murder of Lake Wylie couple in October to prevent the husband from testifying against gang members in a robbery case.
The indictment names 12 people as members of the United Blood Nation gang. All are charged with racketeering, and six are charged in the murder of Doug and Debbie London.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose says they were murdered because of what happened at their Mattress Warehouse store on South Boulevard last May. According to the indictment, Jamell Cureton and Doug London exchanged gunfire during an attempted robbery of the store. London shot Cureton, who survived and was subsequently charged with robbery along with other members.
The case was schedule to go to trial in November. Westmoreland Rose says all 12 conspired to make sure that didn’t happen.
"All 12 of the named defendants in this bill of indictment, began to exchange correspondence," she said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, "and conducted gang meetings via telephone. During this time, they conspired with each other and planned the murder of Douglas London, the only eyewitness to the robbery."
In October, two gang members drove to the Londons’ home on Lake Wylie in South Carolina and shot them.
"When you kill somebody in order to shut down a prosecution, when you silence a witness in order to prevent the government from being able to enforce the laws, you’re not just attacking those two people, you’re attacking the rule of law itself. You’re attacking society form being able to defend itself from people like this," says Kevin Brackett, the solicitor for York and Union counties.
The indictment says Cureton, the alleged gang member who tried to rob the mattress store, ordered the murder from the Mecklenburg County Jail.
Of the twelve members in custody, nine are already in custody in Charlotte. Two are in jail in York County, South Carolina, and another is in custody in the state’s eastern district. All will be brought to Charlotte to face charges. Again, York County Solicitor Kevin Brackett.
"Our office sat down with the U.S. attorney’s office and we asked ourselves this question: Where can this case be processed most effectively to secure the most justice for the Londons, and inflict the most amount of damage on the group that perpetrated these crimes?"
The indictment says the United Blood Nation gang began in 1993 in New York’s Rikers Island prison. The gang has spread throughout the east coast, according to the indictment.