Opening arguments, first witness called in 'Triple M Murder Team' trial

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Opening arguments kicked off Wednesday morning in the trial for Antonio Boyd, who multiple law enforcement agencies said was part of the Triple M Murder Team gang.

Source: KALB

Antonio Boyd, 32, was one of 14 people arrested. Police believe the gang was responsible for more than 50 crimes since 2010, crimes ranging from criminal racketeering to attempted first degree murder.

Boyd is charged with racketeering of $5,000 or more, attempted first degree murder, and second degree murder.

Boyd turned down a 40 year plea bargain, so now a guilty verdict could mean life in prison.

Nearly two dozen police officers were sworn in Wednesday morning as witnesses for the state. It took the clerk of court's office roughly 30 minutes just to read the lengthy March 2016 indictment of all the charges the Triple M Murder Team faced.

During opening arguments, prosecutor Jermaine Harris said, "This group dealt with intimidation and fear in the community." Harris said Boyd was the gang's leader.

"You will hear that an individual paid Antonio Boyd to commit a drive by," said Harris. He also said, "I don't think this case is a who done it."

Allen Smith is representing Boyd. During opening arguments, he told the jury, "Not only can the state not prove them (the crimes), he didn't commit them. He didn't have knowledge."

Smith also said of Boyd, "He's just really a guy from Avoyelles Parish. He's a regular guy trying to get home to his kids."

The first witness called was Patrick Smith, a co-defendant in the indictment who pleaded guilty to charges which landed him a four year sentence.

He told the jury that he first met Boyd when he bought crack cocaine from him. He also said he first heard of the Triple M Murder team "because they had their own t-shirts."

Smith told the jury of several instances where he saw Boyd pull out a gun and fire. He also said he witnessed him order an armed robbery.

By the afternoon, most of the state's witnesses consisted of Alexandria Police Department officers. Chief Neal Bates, who was working with the crime scene team in 2014, was called to the stand to talk about a shooting in March 2014.

At the time, officers heard shots coming from the Marye Street area. When they got to the scene, they were stopped by a victim whose car had been shot up. He told police he had been robbed. Multiple suspects fled the scene as officers pulled up. Police found another vehicle with its lights on and doors open. While police couldn't find the suspects involved that night, Boyd was later arrested for his role in connection with the robbery.

Sixty witnesses are expected to be called for the trial. It is expected to last three weeks.