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Latest plea accepted in Riverdale gang shooting case

By Ed Brock

Clayton County prosecutors have accepted another plea in the gang shooting that killed a 4-year-old Riverdale boy, but they say there is a limit to their leniency.

Meanwhile, they continue to build a case against the man they say is behind the shootout from which a stray bullet killed Travon Wilson on June 6, 2004, saying he may also be connected to the shooting death of a Riverdale High School student in Atlanta.

Brandon Jerard White, 19, pleaded guilty Friday to obstruction of an officer and making a false statement to police in connection with the case, said Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Turner. White, who has no felony record and is not believed to have been directly involved in the shooting, was sentenced to 24 months on probation and fined $200.

White's attorney Mawuli Davis said his client decided to accept the plea because it was the fastest way to resolve the case and get him back with his family.

“He's been in jail for seven months,” Davis said. “He really had no involvement in what unfortunately happened on June 6.”

Davis said his client is extremely sad about what happened to Wilson.

On the day of the shooting, according to police and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents investigating the case, members of two gangs, the Hit Squad and the Southside Mafia, exchanged fire at what was then called Riverdale Park on Church Street. Wilson was riding his bicycle nearby and a stray bullet hit and killed him.

In March the Clayton County grand jury issued 18 indictments in Wilson's death. Ten suspects were charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and the possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, and 15 were also charged with conspiracy to commit felony murder.

Last week Lawanna Davis, 43, Riverdale and her daughter 24-year-old Natasha Anthony of Lithonia entered pleas on charges of making false statements during a police investigation and Rico West, 18, of College Park pleaded guilty to concealing firearms in connection with the case.

West and Davis will testify for the prosecution at trial, Turner said.

Of the 13 remaining indicted suspects, Turner said between five and eight are believed to have fired weapons on the day of the shootout. While he expects to take some more pleas next week, Turner said the district attorney will not accept pleas from those prime suspects.

“For those who are actual shooters we are looking at substantial sentences if not life,” Turner said. “We don't plan to plea bargain with anybody who was firing a gun at people during this incident.”

That is, unless they want to plea to life in prison, which Turner said might be a bargain since they could receive life for the murder charge plus 20 years for the aggravated assault charge and five years for the possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime.

Also, Turner entered a motion to enter evidence against one of the prime suspects, Terry Tyrone Davis II, by saying he is a suspect in the Feb. 21, 2004 shooting of Marcus Johnson.

Johnson, a student at Riverdale High School, was also caught in the middle of a shootout between gang members while he was in a parking lot near the Varsity restaurant in Atlanta.

“We have a witness that can put a gun in Terry Davis' hand (in connection with that shooting,)” Turner said.

Turner said Davis is the one who called the Southside Mafia members to the park on the day Wilson was killed. Davis' attorney Bruce Harvey did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Both gangs have purported to be merely “rap” music groups, Clayton County Senior Assistant District Attorney Bonnie Smith said at the time the indictments were issued. Mawuli Davis said White was a member of the “rap” music group Southside Mafia.