LAWRENCEVILLE -- Police say positive developments have come of recent bloodshed.
The monthlong investigation into a triple homicide that hinged on a kilogram of cocaine has not only netted a murder suspect, but also several peripheral players whom police weren't necessarily looking for beforehand. Authorities said Friday the efforts should dent drug traffic in an area of unincorporated Lawrenceville where crime is prevalent.
Multiple gunshots rang out the afternoon of Feb. 29 at an apartment-style duplex on Cannonball Court, just south of the U.S. Highway 29 and Sugarloaf Parkway intersection. But police weren't called for roughly two hours, when a man returning home from work noticed a dead body in a breezeway, blocking his apartment door, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.
Police discovered two more bodies in an unoccupied unit, each riddled with multiple gunshot wounds, Smith said.
A month later to the day, police served warrants at four locations, including an apartment in Clarkston where Lawrenceville resident Ernest Huff, 38, triggered a SWAT team response by refusing to come out until a family member arrived and spoke with him, Smith said Friday.
Huff is charged with three counts of murder, weapons possession and conspiracy to commit a crime. He acted as a "broker" to set up a drug deal for one kilogram of cocaine at the Cannonball Court apartment -- a deal that went south, according to his arrest warrants. He lives about mile from the murder scene, records show.
Smith said more than 80 officers were involved in the round-up, including DeKalb authorities who assisted in Huff's capture. Three Lawrenceville suspects who live in the general area, who Smith called "peripheral people," were charged. None are suspected of being at the murder scene.
Among them is Michael Anthony White, 17, charged with marijuana possession, burglary, theft and gang activity. When he was 14, White was arrested with another teen in a controversial murder case on Cannonball Court. They spent two years in a juvenile facility before prosecutors dropped murder charges, saying further investigation failed to prove they fatally shot Demetrius White in June 2009.
The day following the triple homicide, police in Charlotte arrested two men during a traffic stop believed to have been involved with the drug transaction and headed home to Virginia. They were charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
The slain men in the apartment were identified as Farris Allen Weston, 44, of Lawrenceville, Brian Lamont White, 36, and James Edward Isiac, 64, both of Richmond, Va.
Police have said the victims, and the men apprehended in North Carolina, were "on the same team."