Prosecutors announced Wednesday that they plan to seek the death penalty for two of the 23 defendants tied to a violent white supremacist prison gang in Nevada.
Anthony Williams, 36, and Tarik “Torque” Goicoechea, 34, are suspected of stabbing a fellow inmate to death before Williams was freed from High Desert State Prison without facing criminal charges in the killing.
Williams, who goes by the nickname “Mugsy,” was not charged in the slaying until last month, more than half a year after he was tried and convicted for his role in a string of robberies across Clark County that occurred after his release.
Prosecutors said they plan to seek capital punishment for both Williams and Goicoechea. Both men pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
After the hearing, Goicoechea’s attorney, Kristina Wildeveld, said she had not received evidence in the case. She also said she plans to meet with prosecutors to discuss their intention to seek capital punishment. A lawyer for Williams could not be reached for comment.
A sweeping indictment against reputed members of the Aryan Warriors was recently unsealed as a result of an investigation by a gang task force with representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Clark County district attorney’s office, the Metropolitan Police Department, North Las Vegas police, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada Department of Corrections.
The defendants, many of whom appeared in court Wednesday, face charges from murder and robbery to drug trafficking and racketeering.
The indictment was the first time prosecutors publicly linked Williams and Goicoechea to the slaying of 26-year-old Andrew Thurgood.
Authorities have declined to say why it took more than three years to charge Williams, a felon with convictions dating to 2001, and Goicoechea in the February 2016 death of Thurgood, who was serving time at the prison for attempted possession of a stolen vehicle.
No other crimes listed in the indictment occurred before January.
Among those indicted were the gang’s reputed leader, known as the “horn holder,” 37-year-old Robert “Coco” Standridge, who is being held at High Desert State Prison, and Zackaria “Lil Dog” Luz, known as the gang’s “street captain,” or second in command. He also is imprisoned at High Desert.
Two of the men named in the indictment, Devin “Soup” Campbell, 24, and Christopher “Bullwinkle” Ashoff, 38, have been tied to killings in Las Vegas that occurred earlier this year.