JEFFERSON CITY — Two suspected members of the Cut Throat gang appeared in the central division of the U.S. Court for the Western District of Missouri in Jefferson City on Tuesday.
They will remain in state custody serving sentences for prior convictions until the July 20 trial unless they are eligible for parole before then. In that case, they will appear before Magistrate Judge William A. Knox to set bond.
William Ricky Boyd, 21, and Diondre Jamel Cooper, 20, entered pleas of not guilty on all counts. They are both charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. They are also charged in a conspiracy involving the possession and shooting of firearms into a group of two or more people to intimidate and also competing with others in the distribution of controlled substances.
Boyd is serving a five-year sentence for unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections Web site. According to Missouri Case.net, after his conviction in 2005, he was released on parole for 16 months. His parole was revoked in November 2008. During those months, he was convicted of five other charges, including resisting or interfering with arrest, operating a vehicle with a revoked driver's license and possessing up to 35 grams of marijuana.
Cooper is serving a five-year sentence for theft of more than $500 but less than $25,000, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections Web site. Case.net indicates that at the time of his conviction, he was on probation for a third-degree assault conviction in 2006. Cooper was released on probation for the theft charge for seven months in 2008, but his probation was revoked.
Boyd and Cooper would have been on probation during part of the 18-month investigation into the Cut Throat gang.
Boyd and Cooper were appointed attorneys Justin Coke of Columbia's Baehr Law Firm and Jason Shackelford of the Law Offices of Jason Shackelford P.C. in Centralia, respectively.
The federal prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller, said he has wiretap and other types of evidence against Boyd and Cooper, as well as wiretap evidence from co-defendants implicating Boyd in crimes.
Boyd and Cooper were indicted in January along with 14 others for drug-trafficking conspiracies, drive-by shootings and possession of illegal firearms. The trial for all 16 defendants in the case is scheduled for July 20.