Men Tied To Gang Enter Pleas In Smith County Court

The Smith County District says today's sentences are the last chapter in the story of a violent gang responsible for drugs and even murder in our community.

Bryson Carey, 23, was given 25 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Cornet Meekins, 27, pleaded guilty and was given two life sentences for the murders of Shawn Pickens in 2004 and Jeffrey Walker in 2003. Both men entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors. This afternoon, Meekins had to face, in court, the brother of the man he killed.

"I've got so much to say to you, I don't know where to start. You killed my brother for a little piece of nothing. Then you killed my homeboy Dre for a little piece of nothing. What you gonna' do now?" said Kevin Pickens. His eyes sat intensely on his brother's killer during his nearly five-minute victim's impact statement.

"I could read you, scared like a little girl. Yeah, I know about your past. You tried hard to hide, huh? Where are you gonna hide now, nowhere to run. Yeah, you hurt my family real bad. I'm here representing my brothers, the only reason. I'll never forgive you, Pokey Meekins. You deserve what you get. What all is coming to you," said Pickens.

Then Pickens asked something, Meekins answered. "How do feel about yourself?"

"Let me say something. I apologize. I know that ain't gonna bring your brother back. Just being a man, I wanna apologize cause I was wrong. That's all I can do." Meekin's apology went on for almost a minute.

"I've been having ya'll in my prayers with me because I know I hurt ya'll, but all I can do is apologize. Whatever you've got to do, I accept it." Pickens told him, "I could never accept your apology." And Meekins replied, "You will accept it." Pickens answered, "Never."

After the exchange, Meekins sat in silence the rest of the time.

"You a coward, top notch. You'll be a coward 'till you die. That's all I got to say," said Pickens.

And before he walked out, Pickens stared down Meekins one more time.

The ringleader of the 2004 murder of Shawn Pickens was sentenced Saturday. Jamarcus Warren was given a 40-year sentence by Smith County Judge Jack Skeen. Warren is also involved in a capital murder trial in Gregg County for the murder of Andre Johnson. Prosecutors say, Warren will plead guilty Wednesday. He'll receive another 40 years in prison.

Oralia Ortega, reporting.