Tree Top Piru Gang Members Sentenced

Prosecutors in DA Charme Allen’s Career Gang Unit obtained convictions against several members of the Tree Top Piru street gang on homicide and drug trafficking charges.  Raffell Malik Griffin, Jr., 30, was sentenced to life in prison plus twenty-five years after being convicted of First Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Sell Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony.  Decoiso Jacques Clark, 22, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to First Degree Murder.  Sidarius Travon Jackson, 22, was sentenced to fifty-three years in prison after being convicted of Facilitation of First Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Sell Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony.  Robert Lee Cody, III, 32, was sentenced to thirty-three years in prison after being convicted of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Sell Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony.  Thakelyn Jaquez Tate, 22, was sentenced to fifteen years after being convicted of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Sell Cocaine.  Zephaniah Xavier Nyane, 24, was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Sell Cocaine. 

In multiple trials in front of Judge Kyle Hixson over the last year, Assistant District Attorneys TaKisha Fitzgerald and Larry Dillon explained to the jury that in 2017, the Knoxville Police Department began an investigation into cocaine trafficking surrounding the Walter P. Taylor Homes committed by members of the Tree Top Piru street gang.  Over time, investigators were able to seize cocaine, firearms, cell phones, and other evidence to tie these defendants to the gang.  During the course of this investigation, KPD responded to the homicide of another Tree Top Piru member on January 17, 2018.  After interviewing witnesses and examining the cell phones collected, investigators were able to determine that the victim had been murdered by his fellow gang members because he refused to follow the orders of gang leaders who wanted the victim to travel to California to commit a retaliatory shooting.

“We will continue to aggressively prosecute gang offenses in order to dismantle these criminal organizations and make our community safer,” said DA Charme Allen. 

In the State of Tennessee, life in prison means the defendant must serve fifty-one years in prison before they are eligible to meet with the parole board.  Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Sheri Burkett aided in the prosecution of these cases.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or [email protected]. For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at dag.knoxcountytn.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.