Two brothers accused of spraying bullets into a second-line and injuring 19 paradegoers pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to numerous charges in a gang racketeering case with the brazen 2013 Mother’s Day melee at its center.
Akein “Keemy” Scott, 22, and Shawn “Shizzle” Scott, 26, along with another brother, Stanley “Stizzle” Scott, 23, all pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle, who set a Jan. 6 sentencing date. Each of the men faces 20 years to life in prison.
All were slated to stand trial next month along with older brother Travis “Trap” Scott, 31, in a federal racketeering conspiracy case that also includes multiple gun assault counts related to other attacks. Prosecutors say all were members or associates of “FnD,” a 7th Ward gang that claimed the area around Frenchmen and Derbigny streets as its stomping grounds.
One of the nine defendants originally indicted in the case still awaits trial. Travis Scott, the gang’s purported ringleader, stands accused of threatening witnesses over the 2013 shooting, along with the main conspiracy counts and other crimes.
The violence attributed to the brothers includes the attempted murders of three people in July 2012 and of four others in March 2012, part of an alleged conspiracy that federal prosecutors say began in 2006 and ran for seven years, according to the 24-count indictment.
Akein Scott pleaded guilty to eight counts, the most of the three men. Shawn Scott pleaded guilty to five counts, and Stanley Scott to six. During a lengthy plea hearing, the three men spoke only to plead guilty or briefly answer Lemelle’s questions.
All three admitted to the three main counts: racketeering, drug conspiracy and firearms conspiracy. Akein and Shawn Scott also admitted their guilt in the Mother’s Day shooting, pleading guilty to discharging firearms “during and in relation to a crime of violence and a drug-trafficking crime.”
Prosecutors accused them of meting out violence to bolster a heroin and crack cocaine distribution business. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Payne said the plea deal, which was a package for all three, does not require that the men help authorities in the case against their brother Travis.
Lemelle ordered a presentencing report, giving no hint of how he would use his wide discretion over the sentences.
“Frankly, I don’t know,” the judge said.
Akein Scott told Lemelle that he had studied business administration at Talladega College. He has no prior criminal history, said his attorney, Julie Tizzard.
In a 30-page factual basis that each of the three brothers signed, they stated that the gang made the Frenchmen Meat Market its drug-selling hub, forging rivalries with other notorious bands in the city. Among them were the Prieur Columbus Boys, or PCB, and the St. Thomas-area “110’ers.”
The victims in the Mother’s Day shooting included a 20th person who was trampled as the celebration turned to horror and paradegoers scrambled.
Authorities claim the May 12, 2013, incident was part of a larger drug feud.
Akein and Shawn Scott “intended to kill a rival gang member, J.T., with whom they had a ‘beef.’ J.T. was struck five times,” the factual basis states. The target apparently wasn’t among the 19 people who authorities say were victims of the gunfire.
Their injuries ranged from grazes to more severe, life-threatening wounds. Five of the victims required multiple surgeries.
According to the factual basis, J.T. was a PCB gang member. Witnesses were poised to testify that Akein Scott saw J.T. at a gas station shortly before the parade shooting, then told one witness to fetch his gun. Police said Akein and Shawn Scott began firing from opposite sides of the street.
Gunshot residue tests performed on J.T. came up negative, suggesting it wasn’t so much a gunfight as it was an attempted execution. Akein Scott “approaches the parade, pulls a firearm from his shirt, and fires into the crowd,” the factual basis states.
New Orleans Police Department officers and U.S. marshals caught up with Akein Scott three days later at a house in New Orleans East, then arrested Shawn Scott a day later. They turned up heroin, scales, razor blades and other drug paraphernalia, the factual basis states.
Travis and Akein Scott originally were charged in state court, but federal prosecutors took over the case and folded it into a wider indictment of the clan.
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