An Orleans Parish jury has convicted two members of a Carrollton street gang known as “The Taliban” of murder, attempted murder and criminal gang racketeering.
Tyrone “Tyga” Davenport, 26, and Dale “Check Peazy” Elmore, 24, face mandatory life prison terms for killing Ralph Bias in a brazen gun attack on the Pontchartrain Expressway on Jan. 5, 2011.
A second victim, Corey Martin, survived five gunshots to testify against Davenport and Elmore in a Criminal District Court trial that ended with Friday’s verdicts.
Davenport and Elmore were among eight alleged associates of the group named in a 12-count indictment handed up in August 2013 accusing them of a variety of violent crimes and gang racketeering charges, with Bias’ murder at the center of the case.
Two of the men pleaded guilty before Davenport and Elmore made it to trial.
Davenport’s attorney, John Hall Thomas, argued that prosecutors deliberately shortened the name of what he said was a rap music outfit called “Taliban Survival Corp.” to inflame the jury.
Prosecutors, however, argued that the group, also referred to as “Hot Glocks” or “P-Block,” had a long-running beef with Martin that ended with Bias’ murder on the freeway.
Bias was behind the wheel of his Chevy Camaro, driving toward New Orleans East with Martin, when a silver Ford Explorer rolled up alongside and two men leaned out the window and began firing.
Martin testified that he was clear about who shot him because he had attended grade school with Davenport and Elmore.
Prosecutors also played a recording of a jailhouse phone call in which Elmore was heard pressing for help with an alibi. The jury also heard some of the men’s rap music containing lyrics extolling violence and guns.
“I think some of the rap music played during the trial had an influence on the jury,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to separate the performance from the impression it gives.”
The jury found both Davenport and Elmore guilty as charged, in a case prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Payal Patel and Inga Petrovich.
Judge Karen Herman set an Aug. 13 sentencing date.
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.