Murder suspect charged with rare ‘gang felony’

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MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- Prosecutors in Muskegon County are hoping to prove a man who is accused of killing a Muskegon Heights teenager was motivated to commit the crime because of his gang affiliation. Isiah Spears appeared in court Wednesday morning for a preliminary examination to see if he’ll head to trial on a ‘gang felony’ charge that’s been levied by prosecutors that could add a possible 20-year sentence to another conviction should he be found guilty.

The open murder charge that Spears is facing for the death of 18-year-old Kentae Jones is being prosecuted separately. Jones was shot and killed in January 2013.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors presented a variety of evidence, including a YouTube rap video featuring Spears and others called 'In da Field." This video includes a graphic depiction of a robbery at gunpoint, laced with profanity and lyrics focused on killing, stealing, drugs, and drinking.

Prosecutors also referenced a lyric from a song written after Spears (also known as 'Cheen') was arrested for the Jones killing saying, “If Cheen lose trial bodies dropping every week.”

Several members of Spears’ alleged rap group were in court on Wednesday, including ‘Handsome Parker,' a self-proclaimed rapper who defended the videos and the defendant. “They were all staged guns, they were fake guns, you know what I am saying?” said Parker.  “That's the type of thing people these days like to hear. That's the video they like to see.”

Parker also claims Spears was with him the night Kentae Jones was killed.

Along with Parker and others, the victim’s mother was in court, still grieving the loss of her son.

Wednesday’s preliminary examination is expected to continue in March when a judge will decide whether or not to send Spears to trial on the gang felony charge.

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