Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – A V-NOT gang member has pled guilty to a slew of charges including the murder of a prominent Syracuse high school athlete.
28-year-old Kahari Smith pled guilty in federal court Thursday morning for his involvement with the V-NOT Gang.
Smith was the last of 11 members to plead guilty.
In Smith’s indictment, he admits that from at least 2003 through May 2012 members of the V-Not Gang:
- Maintained a specific geographic territory within the City of Syracuse in which only gang members can sell crack cocaine and marijuana
- Protected that exclusive crack distribution territory with violence
- Obtained drugs from various suppliers
- Projected a very violent attitude and responded to violence with violence in order to preserve their stature in the gang community
- Used graffiti, hand signs, and tributes on their clothing to slain gang members to signify their gang membership
- Used criteria such as a willingness to use violence, ability to sell drugs, and familial connections to determine membership
- Routinely carried and used firearms in connection with their gang activity.
Smith also admitted to multiple acts that he committed including his intentional killing of Henninger High School basketball star Kihary Blue on November 26, 2010.
In that incident, he shot and killed Kihary Blue on Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse as part of an ongoing feud between the V-NOT and Bricktown gangs.
Fellow V-NOT gang member Habakkuk Nickens admitted in court earlier this week that he drove a vehicle into position on the highway so that Smith could fire the deadly shots into the vehicle in which Blue was a passenger in the middle of the back seat.
Other acts Smith admitted to include the following:
- Possessing crack cocaine and a starter pistol in the presence of co-defendants Titus Nickens, Dwayne Hester and Donald Johnson, Jr., on October 24, 2007
- Possessing crack cocaine, marijuana and U.S. currency, along with co-defendants Jermeere McKinnon, Titus Nickens, Jeffrey Powell and others on November 7, 2007
- Possessing crack cocaine and U.S. currency in the presence of co-defendant Donald Johnson, Jr., on March 23, 2009
- Present with co-defendants Riadda Travet and Jeffrey Powell when Powell shot a rival gang member in the head on November 1, 2009
- Participation, along with co-defendants Christopher Mike, Jeffrey Powell, Habakkuk Nickens, Titus Nickens, Kenneth Jackson, Dwayne Hester, and others, in a gang fight against Bricktown Gang members on October 23, 2010
- Participation in a drive-by shooting of a rival gang member’s house, along with co-defendants Christopher Mike, Jeffrey Powell and Kenneth Jackson
- Shooting of Bricktown Gang member Jaycee Floyd on March 19, 2011.
“This plea signifies the end of a very violent chapter in gang activity that plagued the Valley section of Syracuse for the better part of a decade,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian. “We are pleased to have brought to justice all these V-Not Gang defendants and to have solved a particularly brutal, tragic and senseless murder of an innocent young athlete named Kihary Blue who, by all accounts, was a fine, upstanding member of our community.”
Smith faces up to life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release following any period of incarceration.