The mayor didn’t appear for this hearing, and there were no emotional rebukes for Rico “Max” Newman from the families of his three dead victims or from the eight others he was accused of attempting to kill.
Days after Mayor Mitch Landrieu sat in the front row as a judge handed life sentences to three men for the 2012 gangland killings of two innocents — 5-year-old Briana Allen and Shawanna Pierce — the violent role model for two of those men quietly pleaded guilty Friday.
Newman, 23, a leading member of the St. Thomas-area “110’ers” gang, agreed to a 47-year prison sentence.
His guilty pleas to racketeering, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, a manslaughter charge and other counts all but close the book on a state gang racketeering prosecution that had the killings of Briana and Pierce at its core.
The 110’ers indictment named 15 defendants, sweeping together 15 murders and numerous other attempted murders, armed robberies and gun counts into a wide-ranging alleged gang conspiracy.
Authorities considered the 110’ers among the most violent street gangs in the city. Prosecutors claimed its members conducted bloody feuds with rival gangs such as the Get Money Boyz and the Young Melph Mafia.
The beef with that latter group, named for its stomping grounds around the former Melpomene housing projects in Central City, spilled out into the 1200 block of Simon Bolivar Avenue on May 29, 2012.
Prosecutors said a car approached members of the YMM as they gathered in the neutral ground while little Briana celebrated a cousin’s 10th birthday party on her great-grandmother’s front porch.
A jury in February convicted 110’ers Sam “Lil” Newman and Demond “Lil D” Sandifer, both now 20, along with Tyron Harden, of the 7th Ward, in crimes that included the killings of Briana and Pierce, a 33-year-old mother of three who was driving a few blocks away when a stray AK-47 bullet struck her face.
Testimony and evidence in previous murder trials for Sandifer and Sam Newman suggested that Rico Newman was their admired older half-brother and violent guide.
Jailed on a murder charge at the time of the Central City shootings, Rico Newman was accused of engineering gang activity and silencing witnesses while he was locked up.
His guilty pleas for conspiracy to commit murder were for the killings of Brian Thicksen in November 2008 and Cornelius Williams in February 2009.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Keith Berry’s killing in January 2011, a slaying that took place days after Newman was accused of trying to kill seven others.
Newman was arrested a few weeks after Berry’s killing and has remained behind bars since then.
His attorney, Keith Sanchez, said Newman could be released within 20 years under the terms of his sentence. “Given the circumstances, this was the best possible outcome for him,” Sanchez said.
The remaining defendants in the 110’ers racketeering case all have pleaded guilty except for Stanton “Nan Nan” Guillory, the accused driver in the shooting that claimed Briana and Pierce.
Guillory, a 21-year-old alleged 7th Ward gang member, is expected to be indicted in federal court for a hit job he is accused of committing on July 27, 2012.
Federal prosecutors are expected to allege that Guillory killed Milton Womack, a grandfather of 13 who had agreed to cooperate with investigators in a $17 million Medicaid fraud case being prosecuted in Baton Rouge.
Womack, 60, was gunned down while he sat in his Dodge van in the 2700 block of Verbana Street, in what his attorney has described as “an assassination.”
According to Guillory’s attorney, Alvin Johnson, the authorities allege that the person who solicited the hit job failed to pay him for it. Guillory is believed to have been on the hunt for that person when police pulled him over on a traffic stop and he landed in jail. It appears he never got paid.
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