Young Thug has been under investigation by the DA’s office since 2016 in relation to the murder of YFN Lucci’s former manager.
A Fulton County prosecutor was on Tuesday questioned about his investigation into the death of Donovan Thomas in 2016. Young Thug is alleged to have hired the car that was used in the murder of Thomas in 2015, while four others are charged with murder.
While on the stand, Michael Sprinkle, from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, revealed that he had been investigating Shannon Stillwell, also known as Shannon Jackson, who is facing RICO charges, murder, participation in a criminal street gang, and gun charges. Tuesday’s hearing is the continuation of pre-trial proceedings as the defense of the parties went through the evidence. In one particular part of the hearing, the murder charge in the Young Thug RICO trial came up.
The District Attorney’s office led testimony from Sprinkle, who revealed that Donovan Thomas, who was also called BigNut. Nut was also rapper YFN Lucci’s manager, and his killing was the “genesis” of most of the gang crimes YSL is accused of.
According to Sprinkle, one of the defendants, Shannon Stillwell’s involvement was known as early as 2015, while Young Thug was linked in 2016.
The attorney explained that he had been investigating the murder of Thomas, which he believes is the genesis of other crimes, especially retaliatory shootings and murders.
“The murder of Donovan Thomas was essentially the primary genesis of the dispute between these two gangs. It claimed the lives of so many people and wounded countless others,” the prosecutor said.
There was also a testy outburst from judge Ural Glanville as he appeared annoyed at defense attorneys who objected several times at the lead prosecutor referring to YSL as a gang and questioning the relevance of Sprinkle talking about his motives for pursuing Thomas’ investigation.
“I’ll overrule your objection, sir,” Judge Glanville says.
‘May I ask why Sir?” a defense attorney asks.
Judge Glanville then becomes irritated at the defense counsel.
“I mean I overrule the objection, so what more do you want me to know?”
“The state is proffered evidence that I don’t think is correct, your Honour,” the lawyer offers.
“Well cross-examine him when you got him on cross. So you’re, you’re a little early ok? When you got him on criss, you can ask him these questions that you’re not allowing him to answer now but it’s relevant for the purposes of delay and the reason for the delay, so can we move on from that?” Judge Glanville says.
Sprinkle’s testimony involved him speaking about the murder of Thomas and the four people charged by the police – Antonio Sledge, Damekeon Garlington, Kenneth Copeland, and Shannon Stilwell who is named in the Young Thug RICO indictment for the murder of Thomas.
The men were named suspects in the murder of the music manager, but the case went cold after an alleged witness named Spencer Wright lied about witnessing a drive-by shooting killing Thomas. Google Earth images used by prosecutors showed no human being at the scene of the shooting.
However, Sprinkle testified that after Thomas’ killing, there were multiple shootings across Atlanta as Thomas’ murder was gang-related since the victim’s gang Englewood Family of which Thomas was a “high ranking member,” and YSL was feuding.
“Opposing gangs shooting each other. Those two gangs,” Sprinkle said, adding that the killings were determined to be retaliatory after prosecutors tied the dead to the two respective gangs.
In the meantime, Sprinkle also brought up an April 2022 wiretap conversation which he said formed the basis of the RICO indictment against Thug and others.
Sprinkle was also cross-examined by Stilwell’s lawyer Sharp who sought to establish that the D.A.’s office had indeed delayed the indictment of his client, who was first charged in 2015.
Sharp also questioned the district attorney on the witness Spencer lying about his identity and might have possibly lied about the people he claimed to have seen murdering Thomas. Three of the four men who were initially charged were later released and are not presently charged in the RICO indictment.
However, three new people and Stillwell are now charged with the murder of Thomas, Sprinkle revealed.
Stillwell’s lawyer tried to establish that a report by Sprinkle had concerns about the credibility of the main witness Spencer Wright. The report also appeared to say that there was a second witness who appeared to implicate one of the men, who were later revealed.
Sharp also asked why the Fulton County District Office took eight years to bring charges against Stillwell and why Young Thug (Jeffery Williams) is named in the charge.
Sprinkle added that Thug was being investigated after he was linked to the rental car that was used in the murder of Thomas.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys also argued with the prosecution over the admission of an ‘expert’. The defense’s view differed from the prosecution’s as they questioned whether the witness was an “expert” or a “video enhancer” who will testify about videos and photoshopped images which is evidence that will come up in the trial.
The attorneys disagreed with the judge for allowing the witness noting that he doesn’t use scientific methods but his own methods, which aren’t established industry standards. However, the judge says the defense will get to cross the witness as his testimony will go to weight and sufficiency. One of the lawyers also registered his objection to naming the witness as an “expert” as any layperson could do what he does. The witness will be called to testify about videos that he uses photoshop to enhance.
The judge later agreed that the witness would be admitted as a “lay witness” rather than an expert.
In the meantime, a wiretap conversation was played in court in a separate part of the hearing in which a woman who is said to be Lil Mile’s baby’s mother is hearing on a recorded jail phone call saying that he should “begin that conversation” and talk after he told her that he had a gun under a bed. The woman on the phone pleaded with Lil Miles to speak up so he could be released from jail and be with his child.