Accused Leader of Charlottesville Gang Denied Bond

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

February 25, 2005

In a hearing Friday in federal court, bond was denied for Louis Antonio Bryant, the man federal officials say was the 10-year leader of the "Westside Crew,” said to be the most powerful and violent gang in Charlottesville.

Bryant was just one of 17 men named in a 19-count indictment announced earlier this week. The accused gang leader faces charges including six attempted murder counts, three kidnappings, multiple firearm violations, and drug trafficking charges.

Bryant's attorney was hoping he would be released to live with a family member in town. Prosecutors however felt Bryant was not only dangerous but also a flight risk. They also said they expected that the judge would agree.

"The charges are very serious. They're as serious as they get in federal criminal bond. So I'm not surprised the judge held him without bond," said Assistant U.S. attorney Tim Heaphy.

A trial will most likely be set for sometime during the summer. So far, about half of those charged in the indictment have had hearings. All were denied bond. On March 21, the defendants now in jail on state charges will be arraigned in federal court.

If convicted on all counts, each man faces a maximum life sentence, and a fine for up to $4 million.

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