NORFOLK, Virginia — Three members of a brutal gang dubbed a “fraternity of death,” by prosecutors, have been convicted of a violent 33-day crime spree in 2015 in which five people were murdered and six others wounded.
It took a federal jury just five hours to convict the three members of the Nine Trey Gangsters who killed the victims for reasons stemming from witness intimidation, retaliation against perceived disrespect and robbery.
In one case, a woman was shot and killed because two gang members were vying to see who could kill more people and she was simply walking on the wrong side of the street, prosecutors said.
Antonio Lee Simmons, 38, who prosecutors described as the gang’s leader, faces multiple life sentences. Nathaniel Mitchell, 25, one of the gang’ “shooters” was found guilty of four of the killings and also faces numerous life sentences.
Malek Lassiter, a 22-year recruit who took part in the spree as part of his initiation into the gang, faces a minimum of 85 years on racketeering and assault charges.
Three other gang members had previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the murder spree that stretched from Chesapeake, Norfolk and Portsmouth to Virginia Beach during the holiday season in 2015.
Trial testimony revealed that the bloody orgy of violence was triggered when Simmons got into trouble with his superiors for messing up the gang’s finances. The hope was that the spree would help him pay back the money. But it also stemmed from a war between Simmons and the leader of another line of Nine Trey Gangsters, which is a branch of the United Bloods Nation.
From approximately Thanksgiving through Christmas of 2015, the gang members murdered two men and three women, most of whom had no affiliation with the gang, prosecutors said.
Among the victims, Linda Lassiter, 48, and her boyfriend Wayne Davis, 48, were killed just weeks after speaking to the police about a gang-connected shooting at her daughter’s house.
Another victim, Al-Tariq Tynes, 26, was killed because gang members thought he was talking to police. His body was stuffed in the trunk of his car and driven around for days before he was dumped into a ditch.
Jamesha Roberts, 25, a young mother of two children under the age of five, was gunned down in Norfolk after her shift at the airport Starbucks. Trial testimony revealed that Mitchell was in a competition with another Nine Trey member to see who could shoot the most people, and killed her for “walking on the wrong side of the street.”