Fist Fight, Retaliation Plans Preceded Covington Murder
"There's Sean P, there's Sean P! Shoot! Shoot!"
Those words preceded the shots fired at a man on the 1700 block of Garrard Street on Sunday, October 27.
On bullet struck and killed 19-year old Desean Peterson. Over the course of the next four days, eight suspects were taken into custody, six of whom appeared in Kenton District Court on Thursday afternoon.
Detective Brian Kane of the Covington Police Department testified that the events that led to Peterson's murder included boiling tensions between to rival factions of youth with the most recent occurrence being a fist fight between them on the Saturday before the shooting.
That fight was over someone's marijuana.
Peterson was part of a rap group known as Th'Planes. The suspects are associated with a group known as the Same One Gang.
Reginald Bates, 19, Hassan Abdullah, 18, and Eugene Smith, 18, James Young, 18, and Jamell Darden, 20, are all charged with murder, while Mikyle Holloway, 19, is charged with tampering with physical evidence. Each appeared in court Thursday while two juveniles, also charged with murder, will appear in court at a later date.
Holloway's charge is lesser than the others because he is not placed in one of the three vehicles that made their way from Latonia Terrace to Austinburg on October 27. He was part of a divided group that spent time in his apartment deciding whether retaliation against Peterson and Th'Planes was necessary.
Those who determined that an altercation of some sort should ensue left the apartment to carry out their plans while those who disagreed stayed behind, Kane testified.
Armed with four guns (two pistols and two shotguns), three of which were bought that weekend in Cincinnati, the vehicles left Latonia and headed to Garrard Street. When Peterson was spotted, shots were fired and the 19-year old was killed. He died of massive internal bleeding suffered when a bullet from a .40 caliber pistol entered his chest.
All the suspects fled the scene.
Detective Kane identifies the suspects as being in the courtroom
Three witnesses in the area put investigators on the trail of a vehicle belonging to Smith and another car associated with Darden. As suspects began to be rounded up, beginning with six the next Tuesday, and then two more on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, all but one defendant asked for a lawyer to be present while the rest spoke openly with police, placing themselves and others at the scene.
That is when police learned of a fist fight on the Saturday before Peterson was shot to death. Hassan Abdullah told police that he went to 1705 Garrard, where Peterson lived, in an effort to mitigate the dispute between the two groups. According to Kane, that attempt disintegrated into a fist fight involving ten to twelve individuals.
That physical altercation set in motion at least one meeting at Holloway's apartment in which members of the One Same Gang debated whether more should be done. Detective Kane testified that Darden was the most vocally in favor of retaliation. Darden claimed to be a target of Th'Planes. "He indicated that due to the fight on Saturday, the associates of (Peterson) became angry and searching (Darden) out, he was being chased and threatened over the phone, Twitter, and Facebook," Kane said.
The detective testified that members of Th'Planes had shown up at Latonia Terrace and "posted up" in an effort to intimidate defendant Bates, as well. Darden was also targeted at his home in Crown Point apartments, he told investigators.
The attorney for Bates (all six defendants have their own attorney) indicated that his client traveled with the group with the belief that another fist fight would transpire, not a murder.
"He knew guns were present," Kane said. "He changed clothes, got in a car, and was delivered there. If he didn't know a homicide was going to occur he knew a retaliatory action would occur and that firearms were present."
None of those weapons were recovered. Holloway, charged with disposing of one of the guns (believed to be the one used to kill Peterson), told investigators that he gave the gun to "someone" whose name was not released in court. Kane said investigators had made no attempt to contact that "someone".
The case of these six defendants now head to the Grand Jury. Judge Douglas Grothaus did not allow for new bonds, arguing that they could each be a danger to the community. They are being held in the Kenton County Detention Center.
Story & Photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News