Judge Urges Men Wanted in Columbia Heights Gang Case to Turn Themselves in

Judge Thomas Motley on Friday urged Keir Johnson and Marcellus Jackson to turn themselves in to authorities, telling a lawyer representing Jackson that the warrants are “not an invitation” and should be responded to with haste.

These people need to turn themselves in,” Motley said.

Johnson and Jackson are among seven men named in an 80-count indictment that alleges murder, criminal street gang activity, conspiracy, and other crimes.

Prosecutor Todd Gee said that if found guilty of the charges, each of the seven men faces life in prison.

The US Attorney’s Office indicted Lafonte L. Carlton, Robert Givens, Devyn L. Black, Ricardo D. Epps, Marcellus E. Jackson, Keir Johnson and Lester D. Williams earlier this week with a series of gang, weapons, drugs, and violent crimes reported to have taken place in Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan and the U Street corridor since 2006.

Among those crimes are three homicides, including that of Jamal Coates, who was killed while leaving a friend’s funeral in the U Street corridor last year.

Williams and Epps were arraigned Tuesday and Carlton was arraigned today. Black, who is currently in a federal prison, is due to be arraigned Dec. 22. Givens is due to be arraigned Thursday.

An attorney present at Friday’s hearing said he represented Jackson and is in touch with him. He said Jackson has “every intent to turn himself in” and that Jackson would be before the court at the next scheduled status hearing.

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