NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The final six members of a gang that committed numerous violent crimes throughout Middle Tennessee were sentenced last week in U.S. District Court, the Department of Justice announced Monday.
A multi-year investigation into the gang known as the “Gangster Disciples” resulted in federal charges against 32 gang members and associates, including 12 in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) indictment, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The violent, criminal gang was founded out of Chicago and is now active in numerous states across the country, including Tennessee.
For over a decade, the DOJ said gang members operating out of Clarksville engaged in drug trafficking, financed the drug trafficking enterprise and protected the gang’s drug territory.
They also intimidated witnesses to prevent them from cooperating with law enforcement and targeted members of rival gangs and others through murders, attempted murders and numerous other shootings, according to court records.
The following gang members were sentenced this week.
- Maurice Burks, 36, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky ‒ sentenced to 35 years in prison
- Brandon Hardison, 36, of Nashville ‒ sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison
- Lamar Warfield, 34, of Guthrie, Kentucky ‒ sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison
- Elance Lucas, 33, of Guthrie, Kentucky ‒ sentenced to 19 years and 6 months in prison
- Lawrence Mitchell, 38, of Clarksville ‒ sentenced to 10 years in prison
- James Luke, 36, of Clarksville ‒ sentenced to 8 years and 4 months in prison
Their convictions were the product of trial verdicts and, in some cases, guilty pleas, according to the DOJ. Several of those convicted held local and regional positions of authority in the gang.
Hardison, also known as “Creep” and “Creeper da Reeper,” was a high-ranking member of the set called the “Clarksville deck.” Hardison committed multiple crimes on behalf of the gang, including shootings, attempted murders and murders before his conviction last year.
He was convicted of RICO conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, causing death through the use of a firearm, murder of a witness to prevent communication to a law enforcement official regarding a federal offense and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering.
Evidence presented at his trial showed Hardison murdered a Gangster Disciples’ associate in January 2012 for failing to repay a drug debt. He then shot and killed the associate’s girlfriend, who was a witness to the murder, to prevent her from telling law enforcement.
After the murders, Hardison worked his way up the ranks in the gang and was appointed regional chief enforcer and a member of the “Blackout Squad,” the gang’s notorious hitman group.
He was also involved in multiple plots to assault members of a rival gang, the “Bloods.” In November 2012, Hardison and other gang members shot and killed a member of the Bloods inside a nightclub in Clarksville.
Of those sentenced last week, other notable convictions were related to four cold case homicides in Clarksville and the murder of a person who had “disrespected” members of the Gangster Disciples at a party in Guthrie, Kentucky in 2014.
Their arrests and prosecution resulted in the dismantling of the gang’s leadership structure in Middle Tennessee, according to the DOJ.