The legal team of acclaimed rapper Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, has filed a motion to prevent a video showcasing the arrest of co-defendant Shannon “SB” Stillwell from being presented in the upcoming trial.
Williams’ attorney Brian Steel has filed a motion to prevent the jury from seeing a video of Stillwell’s arrest during a religious ritual.
The motion was filed on Thursday with the Superior Court of Fulton County, aimed at keeping the video footage out of Williams’ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) trial.
The video in question captures the arrest of Stillwell during a religious ceremony on March 17, 2022. The ritual allegedly involved the sacrifice of goats, a practice the defense team argues is irrelevant to the charges against Williams and only serves to prejudice the jury.
According to Channel 2’s Michael Seiden, who obtained a copy of the motion, attorneys argue that Stillwell’s arrest is related to a separate murder charge unrelated to Williams’ case.
Williams, along with fellow Atlanta rapper Gunna and 27 others, were indicted under Georgia’s RICO Act in May 2022.
FOX5 Atlanta reported in 2022:
Williams and 27 other people were indicted along with fellow Atlanta rapper Gunna in May using Georgia’s RICO Act. The 88-page indictment claims they are part of the Young Slime Life, or YSL, a subset of the Bloods street gang. Prosecutors allege those named in the indictment have engaged in violent criminal activity in the city since 2012.
Young Thug, Martinez Arnold (also known as Duke) and Deamonte Kendrick (also known as Yak Gotti) are accused of possessing and attempting to sell marijuana and cocaine in May 2022. The indictment says they were possessing multiple guns: a GLOCK 357, a FN firearm, a GLOCK 19, a Smith & Wesson M&P and a GLOCK 45 with a “converter switch and extended magazine.” The GLOCK 45 modified into a machine gun resulted in another gun possession charge.
The total list of charges against 28 accused is up to 65 counts. The reindictment accused three additional people — Deamonte Kendrick, also known as Yak Gotti; Shannon Stillwell, AKA Shannon Jackson or SB; and Quamarvious Nichols, AKA Qua — of separate gun charges.
Williams’ legal team is concerned that biases against the religious practice could taint the jury’s perception of the case. As stated in the motion, “A reasonable person can also view this as character evidence as well.”
Williams and Stillwell are part of a group of over two dozen individuals charged in a wide-ranging gang indictment involving alleged members of the Young Slime Life (YSL) gang. Only eight defendants, including Williams and Stillwell, are currently involved in the trial, while the rest are being tried separately, according to WSB-TV.
Prosecutors allege that the gang has committed numerous crimes in Atlanta, “terrorizing the city” for their own profit. The trial, which has been in the jury selection phase since January, has been closely watched due to its high-profile defendants and the significant charges at stake.
From the motion:
Mr. Jeffery Williams, by and through undersigned counsel, and hereby files this Motion in Limine Number Twenty Two to exclude evidence of the arrest of Mr. Shannon Stillwell on or about March 17, 2022, when being charged with Murder and other related offenses involving Mr. Drinks. In support of this Motion, Mr. Williams shows as follows:
Mr. Williams is innocent of any and all charges the above-referenced Indictment.
Although this issue does not directly involve Mr. Williams as he was never involved/arrested on March 17, 2022 nor charged with Mr. Drinks’ supposed murder, law enforcement officers arrested Mr. Shannon Stillwell at 2481 Meadowlark Drive, East Point, Georgia, 30344, while in the midst of a religious ceremony which involved supposed sacrifice of goats.
There is absolutely no benefit/probative value and the prejudice is great to show this religious ceremony to the jurors simply to show the arrest of Mr. Stillwell as well as Mr. Quamarvious Nichols.
Not sure if Shannon Stillwell practices Voodoo, but during my time in Miami as a reporter, I learned a lot about it. In one ceremony, worshippers wear all-white and sacrifice goats in an effort to bring forth loa, which help to run the universe and can grant blessings. @wsbtv
— Michael Seiden (@SeidenWSBTV) July 28, 2023