Three alleged Cut Throat gang members plead not guilty

Monday, February 2, 2009 | 10:05 p.m. CST; updated 3:46 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 3, 2009

COLUMBIA — Three of the 16 people suspected of involvement in a Columbia gang pleaded not guilty Monday in the central division of the U.S. Court for the Western District of Missouri in Jefferson City.

Federal grand jury indictments were unsealed Thursday charging 16 alleged members of the “Cut Throat gang” with various crimes, including conspiring to traffic illegal drugs, involvement in drive-by shootings and possession of illegal firearms.

Donna C. Coats, 39, of Columbia pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute at least 5 grams of cocaine base and use of a communication device to facilitate illegal drug distribution. As of Monday morning, Coats' trial was set for April 27.

Michael Lee Stapleton, 22, of Fayette pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute at least 5 grams of cocaine base. Stapleton has previous narcotic convictions and state warrants.

Robert Darnell Simmons, 36, of Columbia pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and another conspiracy charge involving illegal drug distribution; competition with other individuals for drug-trafficking; possession of firearms with the intent to harm and intimidate; and firing a gun into a group of two or more people.

Stapleton’s and Simmons’ trials are currently set for July 20. Judge William Knox ordered that both men remain in custody until trial.

Simmons is suspected of being the driver in a May 31 drive-by shooting near a Petro Mart on Falling Leaf Lane in Columbia. According to the indictment, a handgun was fired and at least one person was injured. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez said a bystander was shot in the face during this incident.

Gonzalez said that some of the evidence that will be presented in trial against Stapleton and Simmons includes wire-tap and electronic surveillance recordings and testimony of at least one witness who saw the drive-by shooting.

Letters from Simmons’ family and friends expressing support for him were presented at the hearing. Simmons’ attorney, Kim Shaw, who has represented him in previous cases, attested to his reliable character and mentioned his work with his father’s company. Shaw said Simmons’ father is unable to work, which required Simmons to work in his father's place to support his family.

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joseph johnson February 27, 2009 | 12:50 p.m.

Criminals and the Columbia Police Department
By Johnsonjoseph

Posted February 27, 2009 at 12:44 a.m.

What about our uniformed officers that are supposed to protect and serve? This article is in regards to the Columbia Police Department and Detective Joe Jackson. Our community has received a tip from one of Detective Joe Jackson's own men. Wow!! we don't know what to think about this. Looks like Detective Jackson and his crew have been working on, and doing top secret surveillance on a few people in regards to defrauding the Social Services Welfare program (FoodStamp Program). This operation has been going on for about a year or so. I'm sure for the criminal's out there they sure do appreciate that detective giving them the heads up. I guess that's what friends are for. It's allways good to have connections on the inside. There is an article listed on MYSPACE about this situation. I am going to quote some key factors. It seems as if Joe Jackson is not liked in this town. Looks like he hasn't been able to get these gun charges to stick on some of these so-called gang members. Cases are being dismissed due to lack of evidence. What's wrong with that picture? The article on MY SPACE refers to detective Jackson and his crew "THE GOONE SQUAD". WOW, what a name for the CPD Detectives. Looks like these young kids don't trust the police enough to tell them what they want to know. Well I guess I don't blame them if you got one on the inside tipping the criminals off. These cops lie just as much and even more than the people on the street. The MYSPACE ARTICLE also says that "The Detective Goon's will be posted up (sitting) at every grocery store in Columbia, Walmart Super Center in particular. They will be waiting for people to go inside and use other's EBT cards. Once you do you will be arrested. Those that have been under surveillance will be arrested anyway. MYSPACE also has photographs showing these unmarked undercover vehicles that we would probable never have noticed if it weren't for these photo's (the photo's aren't very good, though). This sting is due to go down sometime next week!! This operation could prove to be very dangerous to innocent by standers. One of these criminals could react in a very violent way. Here are some of the license plate #'s posted: Blue Chev Truck (BWE-442), Burgundy Ford Explorer (WB6-W3B), Blue Durango (5CS-67G), Tan Chev Truck w/extended cap (SUE-910), Orange color car similar to a scion with tinted windows, white truck (644-PYI), Chev Truck (2YF-295), Black Truck (2AB-329) extended cab, Tan Truck (9UE-310), Green Chevrolet Silverado (343-R24). Wow, this seems to be a really poor job of surveillance. But, I pretty much expect this from Columbia's Finest!! All of you good people in Columbia be careful and all of the criminals do thank one of the Crew of Detective Joe Jackson!!!

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alshawn myers April 29, 2010 | 3:22 p.m.

u need to stop it

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