Fort Worth

Haltom City man convicted of killing suspected gang informer

Staten William Corbett was convicted Wednesday, May 13, 2015, of killing Earnest Lackey of Burleson.
Staten William Corbett was convicted Wednesday, May 13, 2015, of killing Earnest Lackey of Burleson. Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department

A Haltom City man who claims membership in the Aryan Brotherhood was convicted Wednesday of the grisly killing of a man who he thought was an informer who was faking his membership in the gang.

A Tarrant County jury took 37 minutes to find Staten William Corbett Jr., 48, guilty of a murder charge. Corbett, also known as Monster, elected to have state District Judge Scott Wisch sentence him.

Earnest Lackey, 34, of Burleson was killed in July 2012 during a gathering of gang members and women at a mobile home near Azle, authorities said.

“Earnest Lackey was brutally beaten, tortured and killed by his assailants,” prosecutor Art Clayton said in an email after the verdict. “The savagery of the violence and total disregard for human life shown by this defendant is terrifying. Earnest’s suffering in his final moments is unimaginable.”

Ronnie Freeman Jr. 35, of Fort Worth and Jimmy “Jimbo” Lee Riddle, 45, of Euless are also charged in Lackey’s death. The co-defendants and Lackey served time in Texas prisons.

Prosecutors presented evidence that on July 7, 2012, the three co-defendants, Lackey and other people gathered at Freeman’s mobile home in the 6100 block of Big Wood Court on the southwestern end of Eagle Mountain Lake near Azle. Methamphetamine was available, and some were using it, investigators said.

There was talk that a women there was going to be “disciplined” for being a snitch against an Aryan Brotherhood member, according to the email from a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office. Freeman testified that he did not want the woman to be killed at his home. And Lackey, who was acting “jumpy” and “scared,” also said he didn’t think the woman should be killed, witnesses testified.

Then Corbett, Freeman and Riddle accused Lackey of being a snitch. Lackey was asked to recite a code of beliefs known only to Aryan Brotherhood members, but he stumbled and stuttered, and could not remember the words, according to the statement.

Freeman ordered two women to go to a back bedroom. One woman testified that she heard sounds of a beating and of Lackey yelling in pain. Corbett screamed, “Take it like a man!” she said.

The women testified that through a crack in a doorway they saw the three men attack Lackey, tying him up and beating him as they called him derogatory names. One testified that Freeman heated a soldering iron with a torch and used it to sodomize Lackey, while Corbett screamed, “You know you like it!”

Corbett and Riddle continued the beating for hours, while Freeman joined the two women in a bedroom, witnesses said. When they saw Lackey again, he was wrapped in a red blanket, “like a burrito,” and tied with a yellow cord.

Lackey’s body was found on Aug. 2, 2012, between a boat and a tree south of the 5400 block of Crest Drive in far northwest Tarrant County near northeastern Eagle Mountain Lake. He was identified through dental records. The autopsy found that he had been slashed by a sharp, bladed object, and had broken ribs and a broken bone in his spine.

Investigators got a tip about who killed Lackey. The three men were in jail on unrelated charges when they were arrested in Lackey’s slaying. Freeman had been arrested July 17 on suspicion of assault with bodily injury; Corbett on Aug. 6 on a parole violation; and Riddle on Aug. 8 on suspicion of making a terroristic threat and contempt of court for nonpayment of child support.

The Aryan Brotherhood is a white supremacist gang with several offshoots that showed up in Texas prisons in the 1980s. A gang expert from the Fort Worth Police Department testified that falsely claiming to be a member of the gang can lead to a beating or death, the statement said.

While the co-defendants are in the Tarrant County Jail awaiting trial, they are kept in separate cells and not allowed contact, said Terry Grisham, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department.

Trial dates have not been set for Riddle and Freeman.

In prosecuting Corbett, Clayton was joined by Lisa Callaghan. Jim Shaw and Ray Napolitan were the defense attorneys.

Wisch will sentence Corbett after he gets a pre-sentencing report.

This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3