COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Prosecutors have decided to drop the RICO Act violation charges against the defendants accused in the 2011 murder of a Columbus businessman.
The prosecution made this decision to ensure the defendants would receive longer prison sentences if convicted.
In April 2014, six suspects were indicted by a grand jury for their alleged involvement in the 2011 shooting death of Steve Toms, manager of the Gold and Silver Trading Center.
Those suspects are Michael Johnson, Dimitrius Gordon, Sidney Person, Xavier Bell, Jockas Gilchrist, and Theodore Alexander.
Five of those suspects – Johnson, Gordon, Person, Bell, and Gilchrist – were found to be in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in April 2014.
Police also say Johnson shot and killed Toms in November 2011. Johnson faces charges of aggravated assault, armed robbery, two counts of felony murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in connection to Toms' murder.
The remaining suspects face additional charges including armed robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping.