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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Three Gang Members Convicted

18:25 |

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today three members of the Latin Kings street gang were convicted for their involvement in the kidnapping and aggravated assault of Zachariah Henley.  The Latin Kings are one of the largest and most organized street gangs in the United States and have just recently begun to organize and recruit members in Mississippi.   The convictions include Marshall Brian Chandler who was found guilty by a jury of kidnapping, aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, following a two-day trial in Madison County.  He will be sentenced in August.   Also convicted was Corey Aaron Wilson.  Wilson pled to aggravated assault and received a 20-year sentence.  Seven years was suspended and he will serve the remaining 13 years in prison.  As part of his plea Wilson agreed to testify against Chandler during his trial.   The final person convicted was Charles William Higgins.  Higgins was the leader of the Latin Kings for Central Mississippi.  Higgins had fled to Mississippi from Massachusetts to avoid assault charges, and had previously been arrested by JPD in June of 2011 for shooting into an occupied dwelling.  He pled guilty just days before his trial was scheduled to begin.  Higgins was sentenced to serve 30 years as a habitual offender for kidnapping.    Guest stated, “These arrests and convictions have dealt a major blow to the Latin Kings in central Mississippi.  Because of this terrible crime, we were able to convict three gang members including one of the highest ranking leaders of the Latin Kings in Mississippi.  We must continue to work diligently to see that organized street gangs do not gain a foothold in Mississippi.”   The investigation began on October 17, 2011, when Zachariah Henley was attacked by the three gang members while sleeping in his car outside of his girlfriend’s residence in Madison.  One of the attackers managed to reach his arm into the backdoor of the car and unlock it while Henley slept.   They drug him out of the car, bound his hands and legs with packing tape and assaulted him.  The trio put Henley in the back of a truck and drove to a desolate area in Rankin County where they stripped Henley naked and held him at knife point.  Henley was then viciously beaten until he was unconscious.        The three defendants left the scene presuming Henley was dead.  Approximately an hour later, Henley regained consciousness and was able to walk more than a mile to a house to seek help.  Henley was transported to The University Mississippi Medical Center for treatment.  It was determined  that Henley suffered broken ribs, a broken arm, facial fractures and also lost several teeth.    At the hospital, the victim spoke to investigators with the Madison Police Department and the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.  Henley was able to identify Chandler as one of the gang members that kidnapped and assaulted him.  Law enforcement was later able to identify Higgins and Wilson as the other two gang members involved in the attack.      Guest added, “This case shows the violence associated with street gangs.  The victim was kidnapped and driven to rural Rankin County where he was stripped, severely beaten  and left to die.  Only his courageous ability to walk more than a mile after the attack to seek help prevented this from becoming a homicide.”   Guest concluded, “This crime was solved by the combined investigation of the Madison Police Department and the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and demonstrates what happens when law enforcement agencies combine their efforts and work together.  Their cooperation has made our community safer and has resulted in three violent gang members being removed from the streets.”

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