NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - “It simply shows that criminal activity escalates,” says D.A. Leon Cannizzaro.
Four young men, one of them 16-years-old, are charged in a superseding indictment with racketeering.
“The racketeering act is a very useful act because it allows jurors to get the entire picture of the criminal enterprise and not simply an isolated event,” says Cannizzaro.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says their criminal enterprise started in 2015, when all of the defendants were juveniles, one of them as young as 12.
“What we followed is a series of burglaries, auto thefts of property from within the autos. The guns were later used in attempted murders and a murder that took place in March of this year,” says Cannizzaro.
They’re accused of committing dozens of auto burglaries and stealing more than a dozen cars.
As a juvenile at 16-years-old, police say Joshua Augillard and three others robbed longtime investigative reporter Richard Angelico at gunpoint in 2015.
“I kept waiting for the gun to go boom. I was gambling that these kids wouldn’t have enough courage to pull the trigger. Fortunately, they didn’t pull the trigger,” says Angelico.
Cannizzaro says their crimes eventually escalated to armed robbery, shootings and even murder.
“It did involve rival gang members, in some instances, where the defendants were looking to actually kill some of the rival gang members and in one instance, a girlfriend of a gang member was in fact murdered,” says Cannizzaro.
Three of the young men are charged with killing Tyneisha Muse in the St. Claude neighborhood earlier this year.
Cannizzaro says the racketeering charge has proven effective in the past, and he says he won’t hesitate to use it more often in the future.
“If they are not stopped and they don’t put an end to their criminal ways then we are going to use the racketeering act and we are going to go back as far as we can to show crimes that they may have been involved in as juveniles to use against them in the adult court,” says Cannizzaro.