Gang member found guilty in apartment complex killing

A North Las Vegas man was convicted Monday of several felony counts connected to a deadly September 2004 shooting at the Buena Vista Apartments.

A jury found Jonathon Toliver, 23, guilty of violent crime in aid of racketeering and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. He faces up to life in prison.

Prosecutors said Toliver was a member of Squad Up, a hybrid street gang whose primary purpose is to engage in violent crimes, drug dealing and other illegal activities designed to claim more turf in Las Vegas. The criminal organization includes rival members of traditional gangs who mainly were recruited from Cheyenne High School, the government has said.

"These crimes ultimately affect everyone in our community," U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower said. "A conviction that carries a life sentence would send a strong message to others involved in gang-related criminal activity that our community will not tolerate their conduct, and this office will vigorously prosecute such activity."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Bliss said Toliver and co-defendant Donnie Bryant's involvement in the shooting was to elevate their status within the gang. Bryant was convicted of the same charges last month and is scheduled to be sentenced May 19.

The government alleged that Bryant and Toliver donned black hooded sweatshirts and stormed the apartment complex, on Las Vegas Boulevard between Carey Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard, during a pleasant fall evening when dozens of residents were outside.

Their intent was to kill rival Jabirey Carter after a dispute, authorities said. Instead, Gilbert Henry was shot and killed. Bullets also whizzed through an apartment and struck a woman baby-sitting three children, the government said.

Bliss said Squad Up members were upset that several New Orleans residents had moved into the apartment complex and threatened to take over their drug-dealing turf.

U.S. District Judge Philip Pro is scheduled to sentence Toliver on June 30.