Another Latin Kings gang member pleads guilty
BY Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org July 31, 2012 3:48PM
A Chicago man admitted Tuesday to taking part in the criminal conspiracy of the Latin Kings street gang, including shooting and killing two men outside a Griffith restaurant in 2007.
Brandon Clay, 25, evaded directly saying during his change of plea hearing at the U.S. District Court in Hammond that he killed James Walsh and Gonzalo Diaz in February 2007 but did say he was responsible and that he pulled the trigger of one of the three guns at the scene.
Although Clay did not plead to any of the four counts of murder he was originally charged with in connection to the deaths, they are laid out in the racketeering conspiracy charge he did plead guilty to.
He told Lozano he drove to the scene of the restaurant because the two victims were members of the rival street gang Latin Dragons were there.
“They were Dragons, we were Kings,” he said. “Rivals.”
Joseph Cooley, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, said the government also had evidence showing Clay was at the scene of the shooting homicide of Illinois woman Christina Campos in 2009. Clay and his attorney, Clark Holesinger, disputed that shooting, arguing it might have been an accident that was not part of a criminal conspiracy.
Other than that incident, Clay said his role in the Latin Kings, which he joined about a decade ago, consisted of street drug deals and watching out for rival drug dealers. He said he would use force to intimidate people.
“By any means necessary,” he said.
Clay said he knew the gang was dealing in large amounts of drugs, and he accepted responsibility for 150 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
As part of his plea agreement, the prosecutors will recommend he serve 30 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9.
As Clay was pleading guilty, another defendant in the case, Bianca Fernandez, also agreed to plead guilty in the case. According to her plea agreement filed Tuesday, she will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to murder in aid of racketeering.
That count accused her of luring two men, including Edward Delatorre, to a Chicago beach in November 2006 so that members of the Latin Kings could kill them. Delatorre was killed, and the other man was able to escape.
The agreement recommends she spend three years in prison.