The kidnapping and murder of Waynesboro police reservist Kevin Quick was part of a gang-related crime spree involving nine individuals, many of whom were members of a Central Virginia set of the Blood gang known as the “99 Goon Syndikate,” according to a May 14 indictment filed in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville.
The 39-page indictment, released at a Friday press conference by Timothy Heaphy, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, details alleged criminal activity by the nine defendants including a dozen robberies and burglaries in five localities, drug dealing, and federal racketeering allegedly committed by eight of the defendants, six of whom have been behind bars on state charges since February.
Four of those six defendants are also now charged with kidnapping and murdering Quick: Daniel Lamont Mathis, 18, Shantai Monique Shelton, 24, Mersaidies Lachelle Shelton, 20, all of Charlottesville, and Travis Leon Bell, 23, of Front Royal. Quick disappeared on January 31 after leaving his mother’s house in Nelson County on his way to a planned visit with his girlfriend and infant daughter at the Turtle Creek apartments off Hydraulic Road in Albemarle County. His body was found in a wooded area of Goochland County on February 6. Virginia State Police earlier described Mathis and the two Sheltons as siblings who resided together in an apartment on Barracks Road.
The indictment alleges that Quick was the victim of a carjacking and that he was murdered to prevent him from identifying his assailants to law enforcement.
All four charged with murder could face the death penalty, said Heaphy, who noted that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reviewing the case and, as with all federal capital murder cases, will make the determination of what punishment prosecutors will seek. Heaphy said Quick’s cause of death was by gunshot, but declined to offer further details.
The other four facing federal racketeering and other charges are Anthony Lee White, 22, of Louisa; Gert Arthur Lee Wright III, 23, of Manassas; Anthony Darnell Stokes, 32, of Manassas; and Devante O’Brian Bell, 20, of Louisa.
A ninth person named in the indictment, 50-year-old Leslie Hope Casterlow of Manassas is charged only with obstruction of justice.
Quick’s disappearance sparked a massive manhunt after his Toyota 4Runner was spotted on surveillance video in Manassas and Fork Union, and surveillance video from an ATM showed a suspect believed connected to the case. The vehicle was recovered after being abandoned in Mineral, Virginia, on Monday morning, February 3, the day after a family there reported being beaten and robbed at a Super Bowl party.
At the press event, Heaphy was joined by representatives from multiple jurisdictions involved in the sprawling investigation. Both Heaphy and Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo focused on the importance of identifying and prosecuting gang related activity and working to prevent new members from joining. Longo referred to Gang Reduction through Active Community Engagement (GRACE), a multi-agency anti-gang task force launched in 2011. According to Longo, the task force has completed its assessment of local gang activity and is now moving into the formation of a strategy to fight what Longo described as the “cancer” of gang activity.
A trial for all nine defendants has been set for July 23, but Heaphy expected it to be continued given the complexity of the case and the possibility of the death penalty for the four charged with murder.