COLUMBIA – The sentencing of four gang members Thursday may put to rest any doubts area residents might have about gang presence in Columbia.
U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey sentenced the men of the Cut Throat gang for their roles in drug trafficking and firearms activity Thursday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City said.
Eric Sherron Coats, 22, his brother Koda Alshawn Coats, 23, as well as Demarco La Ron Burnett, 25, and Cheviss Caron Denny, 22, all received their sentences separately in federal court. The Coats brothers and Denny pleaded guilty last July and Burnett pleaded guilty last September.
Eric Coats, identified as the leader of the Cut Throat gang by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Miller in a previous Missourian report, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Eric Coats admitted involvement in pursuing a rival gang member believed to be responsible for the 2007 shooting of a Cut Throat gang member. This attempted revenge led to the May 2008 drive-by shooting at the Petro Mart gas station at 3300 Falling Leaf Drive, resulting in a 29-year-old male bystander surviving being shot in the face.
The lengthiest sentence handed down on Thursday went to Koda Coats. The judge sentenced him to 18 years and four months in federal prison without parole. He pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and to involvement in drug trafficking with the Cut Throat gang.
Burnett and Denny both received the minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole. During his guilty plea, Denny admitted to possession of firearms as part of a narcotics operation. Denny also admitted to being present during a 2007 shooting at a Break Time gas station at 1000 Smiley Lane, according to previous Missourian reports.
Burnett’s charges included conspiring to distribute controlled substances and two counts of possessing with intent to distribute cocaine base.
The other 12 people indicted in relation with the Cut Throat gang await sentencing in the next few days, Public Affairs Officer for the Kansas City U.S. Attorney’s office Don Ledford said. “Today’s sentences may be among the lengthiest of this group, but I don’t know that for a fact,” he said.