CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jurors in a federal trial of three alleged gang members are learning about the Bloods gang and its power in the Charlotte area.
Prosecutors have said the local members and leaders of the Bloods gang "operated according to a common set of Bloods' rules and participated regularly in gang meetings to discuss among other things, the commission of crimes such as robbery and murder."
Nana Adoma, Randall Hankins, and Ahkeem McDonald are on trial for racketeering and conspiracy.
Hankins is also charged with two counts of murder in the aid of racketeering his roles in the murders of Doug and Debbie London in Lake Wylie back in 2014.
Adoma and McDonald are also charged with murder in the aid of racketeering for the killing of a teenager, Kwamne Clyburn, in a Charlotte park in 2013.
During testimony on Wednesday, prosecutors gave the jury a history lesson.
A Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officer told the jury he first started seeing signs of gangs in Charlotte in 2000. He said about three years later, he began to notice that the United Bloods Nation was in the Queen City. The gang's graffiti was popping up.
The officer showed the jury pictures of the graffiti such as the five-point star - the Bloods' symbol. There was also graffiti with the word "bloods" written in red ink; and the word "mecca," which police say means "murder every crip child alive."
Defense attorneys told the judge they believe the pictures of the graffiti unfairly prejudice their clients. One attorney said his client was a youngster - not in a gang - when the graffiti was drawn. He said he's concerned that the graffiti may paint the defendants as child killers, as one the drawings suggested.
The judge decided the graffiti was more probative than prejudicial because it shows the gang was in existence.
Other leaders and members of the bloods gang have already entered guilty pleas in those cases. Police say when they arrested them and executed searches, they found books that detailed the pledge, code, and the oath all bloods take to live by the gang's rules and follow orders. Prosecutors showed jurors copies of the pages taken from those books - hand written by the gang members.
Jurors listened to excerpts of the defendants' face book pages and messages where they identified themselves as blood members and communicated with other known bloods. The jury also saw photos of the defendants with gang tattoos.