Four men and one teenage accomplice held a brief but deadly “reign of terror” over Cincinnati in early February, police Lt. Col. Lisa Davis said in a Thursday news briefing.
Police believe the cadre planned and committed four murders between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18,identifying targets in advance, using Facebook to lure one to a meeting and shooting indiscriminately at another’s car full of passengers.
People who knew them knew what was happening, Davis added — if not the specifics, enough to spend the first three weeks of January in fear.
All five were arrested Wednesday. The youngest, who is 14, may be tried for their crimes as an adult.
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“The callousness of these crimes and the coldness of these crimes, again, we go back to that larger conversation of, ‘What are we doing here?’” Davis said. “What were those causations? I know the chief (Eliot Isaac) likes to talk about this — a social causation of things that would bring a 14-year-old into a group of older men that are committing these crimes.”
The men involved are 21-year-old Carl Godfrey, 18-year-old Jason Gray, 30-year-old Mario Gordon and 49-year-old Connor Inabnitt. The teenager has not been publicly identified.
Prosecutors claimed Wednesday that two of the murders had been committed for hire and that Gordon had enlisted the other conspirators as accomplices.
Davis said she couldn’t confirm that the plot involved contract killings but added: “Money, I think, is a motivator that's part of this. Drugs is part of this as well.”
Godfrey and Gray killed Jeremiah Campbell on Jan. 31, according to prosecutors.
The next day, M.T. arranged a Facebook meeting with two people and killed one of them, Terrance North, when they arrived.
On Feb. 16, Godfrey sent Gray, Gordon and M.T. to complete a second planned killing. The trio, driven by 49-year-old Connor Inabnitt, spotted the target inside a vehicle with passengers and opened fire.
The target survived. Deontay Otis, one of the vehicle’s other occupants, died on the scene.
The final shooting occurred two days later, according to prosecutors, when Godfrey and M.T. “armed themselves and entered Millvale” in retaliation for another, unspecified incident. They would shoot and kill Donnell Steele before they left.