Prosecutors drop case against defendant in fatal street feud

Mar 1, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge on Tuesday granted a motion by federal prosecutors to dismiss an indictment against a man accused of participating in a street feud involving a drug kingpin that resulted in the kidnapping and slaying of a woman and the shooting of a 6-year-old boy.

The ruling came exactly one week after a scheduled hearing at which Maurice Cooper was to enter a guilty plea. But Cooper, who was acting as his own lawyer, changed his mind, and prosecutors filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the case.

Prosecutors noted that Cooper, 41, is already serving a 75-year sentence for state court convictions after being arrested in January 2018 on heroin-trafficking and gun charges. They said he would not be released from prison until he is nearly 100 years old, if not older. Dismissing the indictment would “preserve the government’s limited resources, prevent the unnecessary expenditure of the court’s time and resources, and allow the victims and their families to put this horrid chapter of their lives behind them,” they added.

Judge Joshua Wolson granted the motion. He said dismissing the charges would have “little practical effect” and noted that all five of Cooper’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty.

Cooper, who was initially indicted in October 2018, was charged with stalking, kidnapping and other charges. He was among several men tied to drug kingpin Dwayne White who had engaged in a yearslong feud with a former affiliate, Markevis Stanford. One of Cooper’s co-defendants, Ryan Bacon, had described Stanford in rap songs as a “rat.”

As the feud escalated in 2017, Stanford allegedly hired a friend for $10,000 to kill Bacon, but the plot failed, prosecutors said.

The defendants later began tracking Stanford’s girlfriend, Keyonna Perkins, in an attempt to locate and kill him, the prosecutors said. On June 6, 2017, Dion Oliver seized Perkins at gunpoint and took her cellphone. The defendants later found Stanford walking along a highway and shot at him, but he escaped unharmed.

A couple of hours later, Oliver and Michael Pritchett saw Stanford get into a car in New Castle and followed him as he rode to Wilmington. As Stanford got out of the car, Oliver shot at him several times from Pritchett’s truck. Stanford was not hit, but a bullet struck 6-year-old Jashown Banner in the head while he was sitting in the back seat of his mother’s vehicle. The boy was left permanently disabled.

That same day, Perkins was blindfolded and thrown into the trunk of a car, then driven by Bacon and Dontae Sykes to Elkton, Maryland, where she was killed, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say White, the drug kingpin, later tried to bribe Jashown’s family, offering them $20,000 to deny that Pritchett was involved in the boy’s shooting.

White was sentenced in state court in 2019 to more than 45 years in prison after being convicted of 21 felonies, including racketeering, drug dealing, conspiracy and money laundering.

Sykes pleaded guilty in federal court in January 2020 to conspiracy, stalking, using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and kidnapping resulting in death. The latter offense is punishable by death and carries a mandatory life sentence.

Sykes is scheduled to be sentenced July 11. The other co-defendants face sentencing on May 27.

Oliver and Pritchett pleaded guilty on Jan. 31 to conspiracy to commit kidnapping, stalking and other charges. The pleas came on the same day their trial was to start. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop kidnapping charges and stipulated to prison sentences of 27 1/2 years for Oliver and 25 years for Pritchett. The judge is awaiting presentencing reports before approving the deals.

Bacon pleaded guilty in December to the same charges as Oliver and Pritchett did, with a stipulated sentence of 30 years. The other co-defendant, Teres Tinnin, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to stalk and stalking.

Sykes’ girlfriend, Jaclyn McCain, faces sentencing May 10 after pleading guilty in 2018 to four counts of lying to FBI agents about providing the vehicle that was used to take Perkins to Maryland, and one count of obstructing the investigation into her death.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., leaves the chamber at the Capitol in Washingt...

Associated Press

McCarthy rejects Senate spending bill while scrambling for a House plan that averts a shutdown

A government shutdown appeared all but inevitable as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dug in Thursday.

2 days ago

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Kari Lake reportedly plans to launch US Senate bid in Arizona for seat held by Kyrsten Sinema

Republican Kari Lake will soon launch her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by independent Kyrsten Sinema, a senior adviser said Thursday.

2 days ago

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

8 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

8 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

10 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Prosecutors drop case against defendant in fatal street feud