JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A grand jury has indicted five men on first-degree murder charges in three separate cases, the State Attorney's Office announced Thursday evening.
Douglas Cercy Jr. and Ray Jones III are charged with murder in the death of an 86-year-old military veteran who police said was kidnapped, robbed and left for dead.
Cercy and Jones are accused of killing Melvin Clark.
According to police, on April 8, they kidnapped Clark, made him withdraw cash from an ATM and drove him to a wooded area off U.S. Highway 301 in the Maxville area, where they slashed his throat. Clark died several months later.
“The murder of this elderly man was heinous, atrocious, and particularly cruel," State Attorney Melissa Nelson said in a news release.
In October, a third person, Jennifer Schulte, was charged with murder in Clark's death. She has since pleaded guilty.
Cercy and Jones are also charged with kidnapping with a weapon and armed robbery with a deadly weapon.
2 men indicted on murder charges in killing of witness
The grand jury also returned first-degree murder charges for two men accused in the killing of a witness that was ordered from jail.
The State Attorney's Office said public documents show Hercules Bowers and Aaron Gregory were "instrumental" in the 2016 shooting death of 62-year-old Michael Wright, a security guard who was scheduled to testify against Quintae Hudson.
Hudson, who was already behind bars awaiting trial on an aggravated assault charge, ordered the hit on Wright after Wright saw Hudson throw a concrete block into a car with a family inside, prosecutors said.
While in jail, Hudson -- a high-ranking member of the NeighborHood Bloods Rollin 20s gang -- had phone conversations with Bowers in which he asked that Wright be killed so he could not testify, prosecutors said.
Bowers, the regional leader of the gang, facilitated the killing that was executed by Gregory, a member who then received a promotion in the gang, according to prosecutors.
Hudson was previously indicted, convicted of ordering the murder of the witness and sentenced to life in prison.
In addition to first-degree murder, Bowers is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder (with gang enhancements).
Gregory is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder (with gang enhancements) and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
“A known criminal gang orchestrated the murder of a witness poised to testify against one of
their own,” Nelson about the indictments of Bowers and Gregory. “Their actions are an affront to the justice system itself.”
Man charged in Biltmore shooting death
Breon Hollings is charged with first-degree murder, as well as attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in an April shooting death.
Prosecutors said that on April 20, Hollings killed 28-year-old Eric White on Amazon Avenue in Jacksonville's Biltmore area.
The case appears to be a drug deal robbery, police said.
White's girlfriend, Summer Wilbanks, was charged with felony murder in the case. White and Wilbanks had planned to pay for the drugs with counterfeit cash and pills, according to police.
With the indictments, all five face a sentence of mandatory life in prison, unless the state provides notice of its intent to seek the death penalty.
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