Jurors in the racketeering and drug conspiracy trial of a Danville man heard graphic testimony on Wednesday about beatings administered by members of a Pope County white supremacist gang to two people they suspected of informing on members of the group.
Marcus Millsap, 53, is on trial on charges of violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The charges stem from a federal take-down in 2017 and 2019 of 55 members and associates of the New Aryan Empire, which has been described in court as a loosely affiliated white supremacist gang that began in the Pope County jail in 1990, then spread to the Arkansas Department of Corrections prison system, then out into various communities as members were released from prison.
Ex-members who have testified in the trial have described the gang as adhering to principles of white supremacy but said the group's own rules are loosely enforced and regularly violated by its members.
Federal prosecutors have accused Millsap of trying to arrange the murder of an informant, Bruce Hurley, who assisted law enforcement in setting up a controlled methamphetamine buy in 2014 that resulted in Millsap's arrest on drug charges in Pope County. On May 22, 2015, according to court records, Millsap pleaded no contest to charges of possession with intent to deliver and delivery of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Paula Enos, 48, of Russellville pleaded guilty last September to conspiracy to violate RICO, violent crimes in aid of racketeering-kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. In exchange for her testimony, Enos could receive up to a 50% reduction in the low end guideline sentencing range for her offenses, according to a plea agreement addendum brought up in court.
Enos admitted to kidnapping Cascy Lewis of Russellville, who gang members suspected of being an informant, taking her to a location in or near Russellville, where she and three other women punched, kicked, and stabbed her, threatening her in retaliation for, as Enos said, "she had just, like, ripped some people off and they thought she was police."
Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Liza Jane Brown, Enos described how she and co-defendant Amos Adame picked up Lewis at a Dollar General store in Russellville on the pretext of taking her to purchase methamphetamine, but instead took her to the home of another co-defendant, Courtney Talley.
"Did she know what was about to happen?" asked Brown.
"At that point, yes," Enos said.
Enos said she punched Lewis in the face with her fists about 10 times, that co-defendant Carey Mooney stabbed Lewis with a knife and co-defendant Shannon Ferguson hit her with a stick. She said the reason for Lewis' attack was that Lewis had accused co-defendant Kevin Long on Facebook of being an informant and said she had slept with some of the other women's husbands, stolen money from gang members and had informed on some members.
"People wanted to confront her and that's what happened," Enos said. "The biggest problem was that everyone thought she had set up Kevin Long and each of us had something we were aggravated about. We wanted to scare her and teach her a lesson about sleeping with peoples' husbands, stealing peoples' money and snitching on people."
When Brown asked if Lewis had confessed to the violations she was being beaten for, Tre Kitchens, one of Millsap's attorneys, objected to the admissibility to any statement Lewis might have made under duress.
"This is a victim being beaten by multiple people," Kitchens said. "She's been stabbed and beaten and there is no reliability to anything said by anybody who is being tortured by terrorists."
"I'm going to object to the word terrorist," Brown said, indignantly.
U.S. District Judge Brian Miller, who is hearing the case, overruled Kitchens' objection and allowed Enos' testimony to continue.
"[Her statement] prompted them to take further action," Miller said. "They're offering it to that point. I'll let her testify."
"What were you calling her?" asked Brown.
"We were calling her a snitch, a thief, a whore," Enos said, "anything that would be degrading."
Earlier in her testimony, Enos, who said she was not a member of the New Aryan Empire or of the White Aryan Resistance, said that she had family members who were members of both gangs. She said because of those associations, she was able to sell drugs to both gangs and that members of both gangs watched out for her and would sometimes step in if she had a problem with someone.
She said someone who owed her $600 for methamphetamine was kidnapped by gang members, brought to her, beaten and forced to pay her what money they had at the time before being let go with the warning not to cross her again.
She said that her son, Chas Boyer, who was a member of the White Aryan Resistance, was taken out of the gang for violations to "the code."
"How was he taken out of the gang?" asked Brown.
"He did something to violate their code and they took his patch," Enos said. "Which means they physically removed his tattoo off of his body."
"How did they do that," asked Brown.
"With a blowtorch," said Enos, flatly, at which point an audible "uh," could be heard coming from the jury box.
Enos said after the torture of Lewis, she fled to Indiana, where she said her then-boyfriend, Kyle Brady, hid her out from authorities. Asked about his gang affiliations, she said he had none that she knew of.
"He's just a racist," Enos said. "I don't know that he's part of an organization but he's racist. He doesn't like anyone but white people."
Shown a photo of 13 inmates in the Pope County jail taken sometime in 2016, Enos identified Brady as one of the people in the photo. She did not identify Millsap, who was kneeling on the left hand side of the photo in the front row of inmates, and said later that she had never met him, although she said she went to his home in Little Rock a half-dozen times between January and October 2017 to buy methamphetamine from a man she identified as Gary Miller.
She said Miller was a mutual friend of hers and a woman she identified as Christy Hamilton, who was earlier identified as Millsap's wife. Although Hamilton had attended much of the trial, she was removed earlier this week after court officials observed her removing her mask and making faces at various witnesses's testimony in view of the jury.
Enos said on the occasions she went to Millsap's home, she purchased methamphetamine in quantities of a half-ounce to 1 ounce at a time, giving the money to Miller and receiving the methamphetamine from Hamilton.
During a brief cross examination, Kitchens brought up Enos' previous criminal history, asking her if she is a career criminal.
"I've struggled with drugs my whole life," Enos said.
Shown a photo Enos had posted to Facebook showing her with a wide smile and wearing baggies of what appeared to be methamphetamine as earrings with the caption, "Zipadee Do Dah, what a wonderful day," Enos said, "I was very high and that's one of my bad decisions that I'm humiliated by today."
"A cup of coffee late at night is a bad decision," Kitchens said. "You had a person kidnapped and beaten over $600."
About Lewis' kidnapping and assault, Kitchens asked how many women had participated. Enos said four.
"How many women were beating on this woman?" he asked.
"One at a time," Enos said.
"Does that make it better?" Kitchens asked.
"No," she answered.
Noting that Enos had worked as a confidential informant on two occasions, once for the state and once for federal authorities, he noted that she continued to engage in illegal activity even as she worked as an informant in an effort to lessen her exposure on drug charges.
"So you kept committing crimes?" he asked.
"Yes," Enos said.
"Nothing further," said Kitchens, dismissing her as he walked back to the defense table.
The government's case continues at 9 a.m. this morning with former New Aryan Empire member Randall Rapp on the stand.