Orleans jury convicts ‘3NG’ gang leader after 10-day racketeering trial _lowres

Kentrell 'Black' Hickerson

After Kentrell "Black" Hickerson was found guilty in May of leading the murderous, drug-dealing Central City gang known as 3NG, all that remained to be seen was whether the judge would sentence him to the full 100-year stretch he potentially faced.

She would.

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras on Thursday sentenced Hickerson to 100 years at hard labor in state prison.

According to the Orleans Parish prosecutors who tried him, Hickerson was responsible for the murders of Durrell "Duke" Pooler in October 2008 and Omar Breaux five months later.

However, during a two-week trial, Hickerson's former associates testified that he either committed or directed a number of other killings, all to help his gang seize and retain control of the drug trade in Central City.

The jury found Hickerson guilty of racketeering as well as conspiracy to distribute heroin in furtherance of gang activity. He was acquitted on a similar conspiracy charge involving crack cocaine.

Court records show he is appealing his conviction. 

Hickerson, 36, received his 100-year sentence after District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office pressed for him to be sentenced under enhanced penalties as a repeat offender.

Named for its home turf at Third and Galvez streets, the 3NG gang used violence to corner the heroin and crack market in its neighborhood, killing rival gang members in the former Calliope housing development and elsewhere, prosecutors said.

Nineteen other defendants charged alongside Hickerson pleaded guilty before his trial, at which witnesses said the gang's rise to power as far back as the 1990s.

One of those defendants, Washington "Big Wash" McCaskill, testified that Hickerson climbed to the top of the 3NG "food chain" by killing Alexis "Slam" Williams in 2002. Williams was feared in the neighborhood that included the former B.W. Cooper housing complex.

Hickerson had been tried in 2012 for the June 29, 2008, murder of Alvin Wilson on 3NG territory. But he was acquitted after a witness recanted his identification of Hickerson as the killer. 

Not all of 3NG's murder victims were intended targets. Among them were toddler Keira Holmes -- who was killed in 2011 in a B.W. Cooper courtyard -- and rapper Renatta "Magnolia Shorty" Lowe, who was slain by bullets primarily meant for Jerome "Man Man" Hampton in December 2010.

Lowe and Hampton were killed as they sat in a car in New Orleans East after Hampton had threatened to shoot a 3NG associate.

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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