JONESBORO — A Clayton County jury took about 75 minutes to find three defendants in a murder case guilty on all 19 counts Tuesday.
Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers said prosecutors are pleased with the decision.
“The swiftness of the verdict demonstrates that Clayton County citizens will not put up with gangs coming into the county and picking people to rob and murder without regard for human life,” she said.
Powers asked Superior Court Judge Geronda Carter to delay sentencing so she can bring in witnesses to testify against Kyshawn Williams, 22, of Atlanta, Larry Eugene Lupoe, 27, of Forest Park and Jacobey Sean Carter, 25, of Lithia Springs.
Jurors found them responsible for the shooting death of Tavares Moses, 31, inside a cheap motel in Forest Park. Testimony showed that they also robbed three other men in the same room and even went through Moses’ pockets as he lay bleeding from five gunshot wounds.
The crime was set up by three prostitutes who went to the room to talk about a deal for sex but instead took note of the drugs, cash and expensive items inside the room. They reported the stash to their pimp, Lupoe. Lupoe called Carter and Williams, who arrived with guns, masks and guns.
The men entered the room behind the women, who returned ostensibly to complete the sex-for-cash deal, and Williams fired directly into an unarmed Moses. The women had told Williams the man sitting where Moses was had a gun. However, that man — the only one in the room with a gun — had left 10 minutes before the shooting.
After stripping the room of drugs, cash and items, the six fled in a car and headed to a wooded area in Conley where they disposed of a mask and gloves. However, Williams dropped his mask in the motel parking lot and forensic techs got his DNA from it.
The women were identified through their prostitution connection to the victims and they testified against Lupoe, Williams and Carter in exchange for a guilty plea to lesser charges.
The three men face a mandatory life sentence for the conviction. However, the state could ask for life without parole and that the sentences run consecutively which would guarantee the three never leave prison.
They were also convicted of participation in gang activity and are suspected members of Pittsburgh Jack City Boys, which refers to a historic working class neighborhood southwest of Atlanta bordered by Metropolitan Parkway, I-75 and I-20.
Powers said the verdict impacts metro Atlanta, not just Clayton County.
“The gang itself is responsible for a reign of terror across the metro area,” she said.
Some of the crimes connected to the gang include the kidnapping of two attorneys from East Atlanta in 2007, an armed robbery spree in 2010, the 2010 murder of Charles Boyer, a former Clayton County resident and Jonesboro High School graduate, outside a Virginia Highland apartment and the beating of a gay man outside a convenience store.
Powers said the jurors did what they were supposed to do in rendering the guilty verdicts.
“They understood what they were dealing with,” she said. “I’m really, really, really pleased with this one.”