Accused Houston gang member facing 3 murder charges

By Brandon Walker - Reporter

HOUSTON - An accused gang member tied to six homicides appeared before a judge Wednesday for a bond hearing.

A judge set bond for 19-year-old Kendrick Johnson at $2.25 million.

Johnson faces three murder charges, two aggravated robbery charges and one aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge.

The most recent murder charge came Tuesday.

Johnson is also the primary suspect in three unsolved murders, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors asked for no bond, saying Johnson showed no remorse for his alleged crimes. Johnson's defense requested a reasonable bond.

"We are working to solve additional cases at this time and we think that the public safety is best served by keeping Kendrick Johnson in jail," Assistant District Attorney Sarah Seely said. "We believe that he is a danger to the community."

During Johnson's bond hearing, which lasted over three hours, prosecutors said Johnson was a key player in an ongoing war in southeast Houston between two rival gangs: 103 and YSB. They said Johnson's role was as a shooter for the 103.

Instagram correspondences, allegedly between Johnson and other gang members, were admitted into evidence during the hearing.

Prosecutors alleged members of 103, Johnson included, communicated about who they killed via Instagram direct messaging.

In the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case, Johnson allegedly wrote about not killing his victim.

"I ran him all the way down when I stood ova [sic] him to finish the pole click I was out of shots so he got up & ran," one message read.

All told, prosecutors said they wrote search warrants for the Instagram accounts of 85 known members of 103. They said they collected over one million messages.

"They had active plans. They found targets, they would follow them," Seely said. "Evidence that we put on in court today that showed the victims at the time were unarmed. These are people who went to convenience stores, nightclubs, leaving homes and they were targeted, they were shot, they were gunned down."

In court Wednesday, five investigators tied to Johnson's cases testified. Prosecutors presented four separate video clips allegedly showing Johnson at four separate crimes, including one of the homicides for which he remains a primary suspect.

One of the surveillance videos shows the moment Delindsey Mack was shot and killed near Lamar High School in November 2018. In the video, two men can be seen getting out of a black vehicle. Both fired, killing Mack. Prosecutors said Johnson was one of the gunmen.

READ: Delindsey Mack identified as Lamar High School student gunned down near campus

Much of the evidence presented during Wednesday's bond hearing was social media correspondences between Johnson and other gang members. One of the investigators who testified said 103 gang members primarily communicated via Instagram direct messaging.

Johnson's attorney objected to the video and social media correspondences being made available for reporters to record video, citing due process for his client and fears that he wouldn't get a fair trial if evidence from the bond hearing was made visible in media reports, despite being presented in open court.

Judge Chuck Silverman, in the 183rd District Court, obliged.

Under Johnson's bond agreement, he's required to wear a GPS tracking device upon his release and make no contact with witnesses associated with any of the cases against him.

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