Seven alleged Simon City Royals street gang members accused of holding a woman at a drug house and beating her will face stiffer penalties if convicted of committing the crimes at the direction of or to benefit a criminal street gang organization.
A grand jury indicted two women and five men on one charge each of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping for allegedly beating the woman because they thought she was a police informant.
The charges call for enhanced penalties under state law for crimes carried out on behalf of a criminal enterprise.
The seven are identified in court records as Shanna Sumako Cox, 40; Sherry Lynn Emile, 45; Nathaniel Trent Estringer, 24; Christoper Michael Gray, 29; Malcolm Ellis McDaniel, no age available; Dillon Scott Odom, 20; and Jeremy Alan Widel, 28. Widel is from Vancleave. The others are from St. Martin. They are scheduled for arraignments Oct. 4 in circuit court.
Jackson County deputies investigated the crime and made six of the arrests after discovering a 30-year-old woman, bound with duct tape and beaten at a Travia Avenue home in St. Martin. McDaniel was later arrested and indicted.
At the time of the investigation, Sheriff Mike Ezell said the woman had been taken from her home about 6 a.m. July 24, 2015, and deputies found her about noon the following day.
Sheriff’s investigator Sgt. Jeff Smith headed up the criminal probe and said at the time some of those arrested were the main players in the attack and others were just following orders, though all seven are indicted on the same charges.
Smith said the Travia Avenue house was on the police radar at the time as a drug house dealing in meth.
He also said the gang members incorrectly thought the woman was giving information to authorities.
“She was not working with us in any way,” Smith said after the initial arrests.
Originating in Chicago in the 1960s, the Simon City Royals are believed to be one of the largest streets gangs in Mississippi. The gang was once considered the largest white male gang, according to authorities, but now it includes women and other races.
If convicted, the seven are facing maximum sentences of more than life in prison because of the enhanced penalties.