A white supremacist prison gang member was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday for his role in the fatal stabbing of a man affiliated with a different prison-based gang, prosecutors said.
Investigators said the murder stemmed from a fight between two individuals, and the motive was not gang related.
Charles James Garrett Jr., 32, of Fort Worth, stabbed or ordered other people to stab Bryan A. Childers in the spring of 2014, prosecutors told jurors this week in state District Judge Scott Wisch’s courtroom.
Garrett, who was convicted of charges of engaging in organized crime and murder, was one of seven people indicted in the death of Childers, whose body has not been found.
But prosecutor Bill Vassar assured jurors that Childers had been slain.
A witness who saw the body said it had no pulse, Vassar said during his closing argument. “The body was cold.”
Childers, 39, was reported missing on May 29, 2014, by his sister, who said that he had not been seen since April and that she believed foul play was involved.
Prosecutor Allenna Bangs said Childers’ death stemmed from a fight he had with Nicholas Acree at an illegal game room a year before Childers disappeared. During the fight, Childers put a wallet chain around Acree’s neck.
Acree, 35, of Arlington was convicted on Jan. 15 of engaging in organized crime and murder and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Police said he confessed to his involvement.
The other defendants are:
▪ Nelson Cody Borders, 30, and Justin Henry Hunsaker, 31, both of Fort Worth. They are awaiting trial on charges of murder and engaging in organized crime.
▪ Terry G. Corbin, 52, of Hurst, Robert Bruce Cypert, 46, of North Richland Hills, and Felicia Danae Brown, 24, of Vian, who are awaiting trial on charges of tampering and/or fabricating physical evidence charges. Hunsaker is also charged with tampering with physical evidence.
During her closing argument in Garrett’s trial, Bangs told the jury that she was trying to give closure to the Childers family but that the jury could give them even more.
“You can tell them that you are going to hold the man who told his gang of thugs to kill Bryan Childers over a fight responsible,” Bangs said. “You can tell them that you are taking him off the street.”
All the defendants are members of or affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, according to prosecutors. Childers was connected with the Aryan Circle, another white supremacist prison gang.
“The Aryan Brotherhood is a criminal organization that continues to be a clear and present danger to this community, and continued victories in criminal courts against them help put their leadership out of commission,” Bangs said.
Mark Potok, senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors domestic hate groups, said the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas had grown into one of the most dangerous and racist prison gangs in the state.
“The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas was formed as an attempt to take back the prisons from black inmates” in the mid-1980s, Potok said. “Since taking back the prisons, the ABT has killed at least 100 people and conducted at least a dozen kidnappings.”
A federal task force went after the gang in Dallas and Tarrant counties and elsewhere, starting with a 2009 case out of Houston, and sent more than 70 members to prison on charges that included racketeering, conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, narcotics trafficking, assault in aid of racketeering, firearms offenses and obstruction of justice.
Potock and others have said the law enforcement operation took down a significant portion of the gang’s command and control structure.