A federal jury convicted a Tennessee man today on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges, including murder in aid of racketeering activity, stemming from his participation in a violent, criminal racketeering enterprise known as the Gangster Disciples.
Brandon Durell Hardison, aka Creep, and aka Creeper da Reeper, 35, of Nashville, 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.
“Local, state, and federal law enforcement partners worked for nearly a decade with federal prosecutors to build this case against the Gangster Disciples, and this defendant in particular,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s successful outcome is a testament to the hard work of our partners, and the dedication they have to the safety of our communities.”
“Today’s verdict marks the end of a decade of violence and lawlessness inflicted upon our communities by ruthless gang members,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee. “This investigation resulted in federal charges against 32 gang members and associates, including 12 in this RICO indictment. No longer will they be in a position to bring such violent and destructive behavior upon our communities. We look forward to the sentencing phase of this case so that we can be assured that Mr. Hardison never has the opportunity to commit another crime. I commend our law enforcement partners and prosecution team for staying the course and bringing justice on behalf of our citizens.”
“This conviction removed one of Clarksville’s most violent criminals from the streets,” said Special Agent in Charge Mickey French of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Nashville Field Division. “Though we were able to disrupt the activities of this violent organization, our work is not done. In order to keep our communities safe, ATF and our law enforcement partners remain committed to pursuing these violent gangs that engage in dangerous and illegal activities.”
Hardison is last of 12 defendants indicted by a grand jury in this investigation against the Gangster Disciples. Five defendants, all Gangster Disciples’ members, were previously convicted after trial in April 2019, of RICO conspiracy, drug trafficking, and other offenses:
- Maurice Duncan Burks, aka Reesy, 35, of Hopkinsville, Ky.
- Marcus Termaine Darden, aka MD and aka Tuff, 43, of Guthrie, Ky.
- Derrick Lamar Kilgore, aka Smut, 37, of Clarksville, Tenn.
- DeCarlos Titington, aka Los, 46, of Clarksville, Tenn.
- Elance Justin Lucas, aka Mac Luke, 32, of Clarksville, Tenn.
The other indicted defendants previously pleaded guilty to related offenses:
Xavier Raphael Jenkins, aka Xa, 33, of Clarksville, Tenn.; assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid or racketeering;
Lamar Andre Warfield, aka Jug, 32, of Guthrie, Ky.; RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon and causing serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and use, carry, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and causing death through the use of a firearm;
Lawrence Mitchell, aka Chop, 37, of Clarksville, Tenn.; RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon and causing serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and use, carry, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence;
Rex Andrew Whitlock, aka Stackhouse, 36, of Clarksville, Tenn.; RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and causing death through the use of a firearm;
Lorenzo Cortez Brown, aka Zo, 35, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances within 1000 feet of a school;
James Anderson Luke, aka New York, 34, of Clarksville, Tenn.; RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances.
According to court documents and evidence presented at the three-week trial, Hardison conspired to participate in the affairs of the Gangster Disciples, a violent criminal gang founded in Chicago and now active in numerous states across the United States, including Tennessee. The Gangster Disciples are a highly organized enterprise, operating under the national leadership of a corporate board-style group that was responsible for gang decisions at a national level, and the state and regional leadership of “governors” and other subordinate gang members, who were responsible for the gang’s activities in specific geographic regions.
Operating from a set called the “Clarksville deck,” Hardison committed various crimes on behalf of the gang, including shootings, attempted murders, and murders.
Evidence presented at trial showed that on Jan. 6, 2012, Hardison murdered a Gangster Disciples’ associate 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 talking to law enforcement. Hardison enlisted other Gangster Disciples members to dispose of the murder weapon. Following these murders, Hardison was rewarded by being appointed to various positions in the Gangster Disciples, including regional chief enforcer and a member of their notorious hitman group called the “Blackout Squad.”
Hardison and several co-conspirators plotted on several occasions to assault members of a rival gang. On Sept. 26, 2012, Hardison participated in a shooting of an occupied residence belonging to a member of the Bloods gang in Clarksville, Tennessee. Additionally, on Nov. 3, 2012, Hardison and others shot and killed a member of the Bloods gang inside a nightclub in Clarksville, Tennessee.
In addition to Hardison’s crimes, evidence was presented that other Gangster Disciples members engaged in drug trafficking, intimidated witnesses to prevent them from cooperating with law enforcement, protected the gang’s drug territory, financed the enterprise, and violently enforced gang rules.
At sentencing, Hardison faces a mandatory minimum of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering, a maximum sentence of life in prison for the offenses of racketeering conspiracy, causing death through the use of a firearm, and killing a witness to prevent communication to a law enforcement; He faces 20 years’ incarceration for the assault causing serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering offense.
The ATF; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; and Clarksville Police Department investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Gerald A. A. Collins of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Schrader of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee prosecuted the case.