Kidnapper’s sentence a victory in holding gang members accountable, DA says

Christopher Gray
Christopher Gray

A member of a street gang has been ordered to serve 22 years in prison for kidnapping a woman because he and others thought she was a police informant.

Simon City Royals gang member Christopher Michael Gray, 30, was sentenced Thursday on guilty pleas to kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office.

Gray, 30, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court by Judge Robert Krebs, who ordered a 30-year prison term, with eight suspended and 22 years to serve. Krebs also fined Gray $3,000.

The woman was beaten and taken from her home July 24, 2015. Deputy sheriffs found her later the same day at a home on Travia Avenue in St. Martin.

Sheriff’s officials have said the woman was not working with deputies, although they already had their eye on alleged criminal activity at that house.

“Today’s resolution is another victory in the continued struggle to hold gang members accountable for the lawlessness and violence they bring to our community,” District Attorney Tony Lawrence said in a written statement.

“I hope this lengthy prison sentence sends a message that law-abiding citizens are sick and tired of gangs and the criminal subculture they create.”

Gray is the fifth of seven defendants in the case to be prosecuted.

Lawrence said the case is one of the first to use existing gang laws to enhance punishment for gang members.

“The existing gang law makes it extremely difficult to prosecute gangs,” he said, calling the case “a shining example” of why state lawmakers need to update gang laws.

“While we were fortunate to be able to use what I hope will become ‘old law,’ I hope that the Legislature recognizes that law enforcement needs new tools to combat the exiting and growing gang violence.”

ADA Bill Barrett prosecuted the case.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews