Three defendants in a racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder case pled guilty before Judge Samuel D. Ozburn of the Alcovy Circuit Superior Court on Thursday in return for a negotiated plea bargain. A fourth defendant will return to court on Aug. 20 to accept or reject a negotiated plea.
Jason Conway Barnes, Sara Elizabeth Evans and Dustin Dylan Glass each pled guilty to one count of racketeering as part of a negotiated plea bargain. Eric Bernard Randolph had also been offered a plea option but because he had not had time to consider it, his lawyer, Keri Thompson, requested he be given until Aug. 20 to decide. She also requested he be released on bond and placed under house arrest until returning to court on the 20th. District Attorney Layla H. Zon said the state opposed the bond because Randolph presented a threat to witnesses.
The judge denied the request for bond, but accepted the continuance to Aug. 20.
In March, Barnes, Evans, Glass, Randolph, Regina Gail Henry, Chad Ashley Allen, Patty Wanda Green and Zachary Wayne Young were indicted on three counts of the racketeering influenced corrupt organizations (RICO) act. Allen, Glass, Green and Randolph were also charged with seven counts of aggravated assault, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and 14 counts of criminal street gang related acts.
Green, Barnes, Allen and others were also charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamines from inside the prison, while Green and Lisa Faye Hall were accused of smuggling the contraband into the prison.
The indictment followed a nine-month long investigation involving 11 agencies, including the Newton County District Attorney’s Office, the Georgia Department of Corrections, and the Newton and Rockdale County Sheriff’s offices.
Allen, convicted in 2013 of the murder of Robert Andrew “Drew” Nichols and sentenced to life in prison, allegedly conspired with the others to murder witness Chadwick Little, who had testified against Allen in the murder case. Glass and Randolph allegedly fired multiple shots at the home where Little and seven other people were staying. It is believed Allen’s mother, Green, paid Glass and Randolph after the shooting.
The indictment also charges the six defendants with involvement in the Ghost Face Gangsters, a group of predominately white males with violent criminal histories thought to be operating both inside and outside the Georgia Department of Corrections facilities. Documents describing the gang’s bylaws, mottos, creeds, membership information, symbols and other information were found during a Department of Corrections search of Green’s house in Conyers.
On Aug. 6, Glass pled guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated assault, violation of the street gang terrorism act and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He will serve seven concurrent 10 year jail terms, and 20 years probation.
Barnes, who also pled guilty to charges of trafficking and possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and a controlled substance as well as driving with a suspended license, will receive 10 years in jail and 25 years probation.
In return, both Barnes and Glass agreed to testify truthfully against the co-defendants in the case, have no contact with any of the co-defendants or witnesses Linda Aikens and Little, abide by special conditions of probation related to the prohibition of gang activity, pay all fines and surcharges and enter a methamphetamine treatment program.
Evans pled guilty to one count of racketeering, and accepted the negotiated plea. She will serve 180 days in the Newton County jail and 10 years on probation, and pay $1,000 in fines plus fees and surcharges. In return, she agreed to testify truthfully against the co-defendants in the case, and cease association with the defendants.
Henry, Hall and Young will appear in court on Aug. 20. Green’s case will go to trial Sept. 21. Allen’s case was deemed ready to go to trial, though a date has not yet been set.