Jurors begin deliberations for the Jorge Cornell, Latin Kings trial


Jorge Cornell (WGHP)

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Jurors began deliberation for the Latin Kings trial in the Forsyth County Federal Courthouse.

Federal prosecutors and six defense attorneys have their closing arguments Friday to jurors in the case of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, better known as Latin Kings.

Federal prosecutor Leshia Lee-Dixon and staff told jurors Jorge Cornell or "King Jay" is the leader or Inca of the Latin Kings of North Carolina.

Prosecutors painted a violent picture using recorded interviews with Latin King members, testimonies of victims and analysis of gang signs and memorabilia.

Cornell and five others face racketeering crime charges of fraud, extortion, robbery, murder, arson and drug trafficking.

None of the six suspects Ernesto Wilson, Irving Valesquez, Randolph Kilfoil, Russell Kilfoil, Samuel Valasquez and suspected leader Jorge Cornell chose to testify during the month long trial.

Defense attorney Michael Patrick and staff said they admit their clients are not "angels" or "choir boys" but they were not involved -- or some even present -- during the violent crimes including the 2.50 Cleaners robbery or Maplewood shooting.

Defense attorneys claim Cornell was often a "peacemaker" using the Latin King name to educate the community.

Cornell ran for Greensboro City Council in 2009 and said publicly the Greensboro Police Department harassed the Latin Kings group.

Jurors will have to decide if prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt each of the defendants committed a pattern of racketeering crimes for the betterment and advancement of the Latin King enterprise.

If the jury verdict is guilty on the first count of racketeering, then Cornell could face an additional two counts for aiding and abetting the operation and using and or providing firearms for the Latin King's benefit.

Deliberation will reconvene Monday morning at 9 a.m.

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