COVINGTON - A defendant in a racketeering case returned to court on Thursday and pled guilty to one count of racketeering and carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony in front of Judge Samuel D. Ozburn of the Alcovy Circuit Superior Court .
Eric Bernard Randolph had been offered the deal during an Aug. 6 court appearance, but because he had not had time to consider the offer, was given until Aug. 20 to accept or turn down the offer.
A second defendant in the same case, Zachary Wayne Young, pled guilty to racketeering, violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act, and trafficking methamphetamine in a negotiated plea bargain.
Young and Randolph allegedly conspired with Chad Allen, convicted in 2013 for the murder of Robert Andrew "Drew" Nichols and sentenced to life in prison, to kill witness Chadwick Little. Little had testified against Allen in the murder case. Allen allegedly asked young to execute a hit on Little, and Young allegedly arrange for Dustin Dylan Glass and Randolph to shoot Little. In return, he was given money and drugs by Patty Wanda Green.
Glass, who pled guilty to the racketeering charges earlier in August, and Randolph allegedly fired multiple shots at the home where Little and seven others were staying. It is believed that Allen's mother, Green, paid defendant.
The judge accepted both guilty pleas. Young, who, despite attending school to the 11th grade, admitted he could not read or write. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and 20 on high risk supervision, and $3,000 in fines plus surcharges.
Young, who admitted that despite reaching 11th grade, he did not read or write, will be required to earn a GED as part of the sentence. He will also enter a methamphetamine
counseling program, have no contact with the other defendants in the case, or with Linda Atkins, one of the victims of the shootings, or Chad Little. Special conditions of the plea bargain included being prohibited from being part of any gang, including the Ghost Face Gang.
Randolph was eligible for first offender treatment, which would make his probation more strictly supervised in exchange for expunging the felony record after he served his sentence. At first, the defendant entered the request to be considered for first offender treatment, but later withdrew the request.
According to the court proceedings, Randolph had tried to sell the gun used in the shootings to an undercover FBI agent. He received a 20 year sentence, and will serve three years in prison, and the rest on probation.
Like Young, Randolph is forbidden from having contact with any of the defendants or victims, and from associating with any gangs, including the Ghost Face Gangsters and the Gangster Disciples, a Chicago-based, violent gang. Randolph is allegedly associated with the latter gang.
The Ghost Face Gangsters is a 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.
The two men were included in an indictment handed down in March that alleged Young, Randolph, Jason Conway Barnes, Sara Elizabeth Evans, Dustin Dylan Glass, Regina Gail Henry, Allen and Green had engaged in racketeering, aggravated assault and criminal street gang related acts. Allen, Glass, Green and Randolph also charged with seven counts of aggravated assault, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and 14 counts of criminal street gang related acts.
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.