Teen to stand trial for alleged brutal gang initiation at Marietta High School

Doorway to courtroom in Cobb County Magistrate Court in article about Kennesaw home invasionEntrance to a Cobb County magistrate courtroom (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

A teen at Marietta High School who allegedly stood lookout while a student was brutally beaten during a gang initiation in the school’s rest room last November will stand trial in Cobb County Superior Court.

[Note: the Courier has a policy of withholding the names of juvenile suspects and victim, even when the suspect is being tried as an adult.  We are considering whether to change that policy, but for now, it’s in effect — Larry Johnson]

The teen is suspected of being a leader in the Money Maker Gang,  a gang with loose ties to the Bounty Hunter Bloods, which is in turn affiliated with the national organization the Bloods, according to testimony at the hearing.

At the Wednesday afternoon hearing, Magistrate Court Judge Gerald Moore found probable cause to bind the teen over on charges described in the booking report as “Unlawful for Person Employed by/Associated with a Criminal Street Gang to Conduct/Participate in Criminal Activity …,” affray (fighting), and aggravated battery.

Agent Paul Reynolds, of the FBI-led Safe Streets Gang Task Force, testified at the hearing.

He said that the task force had been contacted by a school resource officer from Marietta High School about the Money Maker Gang operating at the school, whose members reportedly wore camouflage print clothing as its official colors.  The agent described the gang as a non-traditional gang with ties to the Bounty Hunter Bloods.

The victim in the crime sought membership in the club, but according to Agent Reynolds, did not have a clear idea of the nature of the gang.

According to Reynolds’ testimony, in early November the victim was brought into a restroom at Marietta High School where he was told to fight another prospective member.  The winner of the fight would be inducted into the gang.  The victim decided during the fight that he no longer wanted to participate, but the other prospective member continued to beat him, inflicting wounds that caused scarring of his face.

The suspect served as a lookout during the initiation. Fourteen individuals were subsequently arrested.  With the help of informants investigators identified 24 suspected gang members at the school.

Judge Moore bound the suspect over for trial.  He was granted bond under conditions that he have no contact with other gang members or the victim, that he wear an ankle monitor and submit to a curfew, and that he not return to Marietta High School.

“You’ve worn out your welcome there,” Moore said.

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