A state grand jury returned indictments Thursday against four men in the high-profile 2010 murders of popular local bounce rapper Renatta “Magnolia Shorty” Lowe and Jerome “Man-Man” Hampton as they sat in a car in New Orleans East.
McCoy “Rat” Walker, Terrioues “T-Red” Owney, Rico “Freaky” Jackson and Tyrone “Biscuit” Knockum each face two counts of second-degree murder in the Dec. 20, 2010, killings in the 6300 block of Bridgehampton Drive.
All four were among 20 alleged members of the “3-N-G” gang named last year in a massive state racketeering indictment that was part of a coordinated effort by District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office and federal authorities to remove the most dangerous of the city’s violent offenders from the streets.
The street gang was named for their purported stomping grounds around Third and Galvez streets in Central City, near the former B.W. Cooper housing development. Knockum and Owney allegedly also were involved in the late 2011 slaying of toddler Keira “Pooh Bear” Holmes in a courtyard there — a killing that sparked outrage in the community.
Knockum was indicted separately in 2012 for Holmes’ killing. He and Owney were then named in the killing as part of the gang indictment.
Another man, Gregory “Rabbit” Stewart, pleaded guilty last month in federal court to participating in three murders in May 2011, and court documents from that case show he also admitted to being one of five people responsible for the Lowe and Hampton shootings.
Stewart is due to be sentenced Oct. 9. As part of the plea deal, the government agreed not to seek the death penalty. Stewart admitted to leading a drug ring known as “G-Strip,” claiming Owney and others as associates.
In the written “factual basis” underpinning his federal plea deal, Stewart, also known as “D-Nice,” said he, Owney, Walker and Jackson opened fire on Lowe and Hampton with semi-automatic weapons in the parking lot of an apartment complex just after noon. Knockum, who also goes by the name “T-Bone,” allegedly drove the car.
Lowe accelerated the Chevy Malibu she and Hampton were in and crashed into a wooden fence, according to the factual basis. She and Hampton died at the scene, where police turned up more than 50 spent shell casings.
Stewart’s group and 3-N-G members combined forces and became known as the “39-ers,” the federal court document states.
Lowe was a local rap fixture and one of the first women to sign with the Cash Money Records label. Mourners at her funeral included Lil Wayne, Christopher “B.G.” Dorsey and Juvenile, along with Cash Money founder Bryan “Birdman” William.
Hampton was believed to be an associate of Ivory Brandon “B-Stupid” Harris, who admitted to the 2006 Uptown murder of Jermaine “Manny” Wise on Fat Tuesday and is now serving a 25-year prison sentence.
Police had suspected Hampton of being the getaway driver in that murder, but the charges were dropped. Hampton also had been charged in Texas in a killing that authorities considered revenge for the 2003 murder of rapper James “Soulja Slim” Tapp, according to a Times-Picayune report.
Tapp had grown up with Lowe and reportedly came up with her stage name.
Walker, 23; Owney, 27; Jackson, 32; and Knockum, who turned 24 on Wednesday, all remain behind bars, held on $1 million bail each, according to Cannizzaro’s office.
Owney is due in federal court for sentencing next week after he pleaded guilty in February to a pair of drug conspiracy counts related to an alleged scheme with Stewart, according to federal court records.
The indictments handed up Thursday were the result of an FBI Gang Task Force investigation.
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.