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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mother's Day shooters plead guilty in sweeping indictment, face up to life in prison

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 5:20 PM

click to enlarge Surveillance footage from the second line shootings on May 12, 2013 that injured 20 people.
  • Surveillance footage from the second line shootings on May 12, 2013 that injured 20 people.

As the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club made its way through the corner of North Villere and Frenchmen streets at its annual Mother's Day second line in 2013, a gunman sprayed bullets from a 9 mm handgun into the crowd, hitting 19 people. Another person was trampled as people fled.

That shooting spurred a multi-count federal indictment involving drug trafficking, racketeering and other gun violence among members of the 7th Ward's Frenchmen and Derbigny gang (or FnD) over seven years. The alleged shooters, Akein Scott, and his brother, Shawn Scott, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, along with Stanley Scott, to charges stemming from a federal indictment involving nine people.

Akein, Shawn and Stanley Scott are scheduled to be sentenced at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. They each face 20 years to life in prison. U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle said he's unsure whether he will, though he has the right to, sentence the defendants to the minimum, maximum or "something in between" the sentencing guidelines. "Frankly, I don't know," he said. In his sentencing, he will consider their personal and criminal histories, the "seriousness of the crimes" and recidivist behaviors. (Akein and Shawn Scott had previously been charged with gun and drug charges.) Prior to sentencing, Lemelle has requested a pre-sentencing report to investigate the defendants' criminal and personal histories.

The multi-count indictment alleges heroin and crack-cocaine trafficking and links the shootings to gang activity and racketeering beginning in 2006. The RICO conspiracy counts allege that the Scotts worked together as a "gang, perhaps," Lemelle said, to commit crimes, and not only knew of their activities but agreed to be a part of them. There is no minimum sentence but it carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Akein and Shawn Scott's older brother Travis, alleged as the ringleader of the gang, has been accused of threatening witnesses and is the last defendant in the federal indictment awaiting trial.

The U.S. Attorney's office submitted a 30-age factual basis outlining the Scotts' roles in the Frenchman and Derbigny Gang, as well as its drug trafficking enterprise and use of firearms.

The case initially began in state court for attempted murder charges but U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced a superseding indictment last year.

Among the people injured in the 2013 shooting was Gambit second line correspondent Deborah "Big Red" Cotton, who continues to recover. She recently was awarded the Ashley Morris Award from Rising Ride.

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