In the more than two years since her son’s death, Regina Baker has had trouble sleeping.
She remembers the day in 1976 when her son, Derrick Jackson, was first placed in her arms.
Jackson, 38, died in her arms at a hospital Dec. 18, 2014, six days after he’d been shot at Macon’s Wings Cafe, a Bloomfield Drive nightclub.
Christmas lights hung outside. Jackson was at the club with friends when a standoff between members of the Crips and Blacc Team street gangs erupted into a brawl.
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Both sides fired shots.
Kenyatta Noreece Lester, a Blacc Team member, retrieved a gun from his car and fired nine shots.
“Three of those, the last three, …were basically blind,” prosecutor Sandra Matson said during a Monday hearing in Bibb County Superior Court. “He had turned his head, pointing his firearm not even looking in the direction where he was firing into a nightclub full of patrons.
Lester, 32, pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter and violating the state’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Lester initially was charged with murder in Jackson’s death.
Two other men were fatally shot in the melee, the club’s DJ, 34-year-old George Henley, and 25-year-old Corey Hollingshed. A woman was shot multiple times, but she survived.
Lester is the ninth man to plead guilty in the Wings Cafe killing case, leaving just one man left to stand trial March 13.
Vertuice Wall, who also faces federal charges, is the alleged “first coordinator” for the Macon Gangster Disciples group, of which the Blacc Team reportedly is a subset.
Only one defendant, Vertuice Wall, is left to stand trial March 13.
During Monday’s hearing, Matson read aloud a Facebook post Lester authored in June 2014, about six months before the shootout.
“If you’re scared to go to church on Sunday, … N-word ain’t gonna stop the killing. That’s like asking women to stop having babies. Some s--- just ain’t gonna happen. My advice to you is to live your life. God’s going to send for you when he’s good and ready,” she read.
He also posted about his loyalty to his gang.
Lester’s trouble with the law dates to 2005, when he pleaded guilty in Monroe County to possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.
In 2009, he was caught in a car with marijuana and a gun. He used an ID for Tavarus Antwone Coney, another man charged in the Wings Cafe case who pleaded guilty last week.
In March 2014, Lester was present when police served a search warrant where they found marijuana, a stolen gun and a stolen Bibb County deputy’s badge, Matson said.
If you’re scared to go to church on Sunday…N-word ain’t gonna stop the killing. That’s like asking women to stop having babies. Some s--- just ain’t gonna happen. My advice to you is to live your life. God’s going to send for you when he’s good and ready.
Kenyatta Noreece Lester Facebook post read by prosecutor Sandra Matson
He was at Wings Cafe for a previous 2014 altercation between Coney and another man in which guns were pulled, she said.
Tattoos brand Lester’s body with the words “murderer” and “cutthroat.” A smoking gun is inked on his chest, Matson said.
Reza Sedghi, Lester’s lawyer, said his client “is truly sorry and remorseful” for what happened to Jackson, a man he didn’t know.
He meant no ill will toward him, Sedghi said during the Monday hearing.
Sedghi said Lester was out bar hopping with friends Dec. 12, 2014, and didn’t plan on getting into a gunfight.
He was standing near Henley when Henley was shot, the attorney said.
Lester, looking back toward Jackson’s family gathered in the courtroom, apologized before he was sentenced.
Speaking after the hearing, Sedghi said Lester could have faced life in prison without parole if he’d gone to trial with Wall in March.
“Under the circumstances, this gives him another chance,” he said.
Lester will be eligible for parole and could one day become a part of the community, Sedghi said.
Baker, Jackson’s mother, wept during the hearing, saying she can’t go to the jail to see her son.
“I can only go to a grave site,” she said.