Jason Paul Yates, a defendant in the North Carolina Latin Kings federal racketeering case, has entered a plea agreement with the US government.
The plea agreement, which was entered on Monday, was filed under seal. Yates' court-appointed lawyer, Joseph M. Wilson Jr., had alluded to a possible plea agreement when he mentioned his client's plans to meet with prosecutors "to see if the matter can be resolved" during a hearing last month.
Yates and co-defendant Jorge Cornell were rivals for the leadership of the North Carolina Latin Kings, with Yates coming to North Carolina from the Chicago area, where the street organization was founded in the 1940s, while Cornell moved to Greensboro from New York City in 2002. Chicago has developed a reputation as the more ruthless of the two organizations, while Cornell joined the Latin Kings in New York as a follower of the reform-minded King Tone in the 1990s.
Yates was active as a Latin King in Raleigh in the mid-2000s. In 2008, he moved to Greensboro, and Cornell moved into Yates' apartment shortly afterwards. Cornell was at Yates' apartment when he was shot by an unknown assailant in the summer of 2008. The crime has never been solved. Yates was a candidate to replace Cornell as a statewide leader of the Latin Kings that same year when a meeting was called by a faction intent on ousting Cornell. Yates lost the vote, and Cornell reportedly stripped him of his membership with authorization from the Chicago leadership of the Latin Kings.
Cornell, his younger brother Russell Kilfoil and an associate named Ernesto Wilson were convicted by a federal jury of racketeering in December, and await sentencing. Three other defendants were acquitted, and the charge was dropped against one by Judge James A. Beaty during the trial. Yates was originally going to be tried with the other seven defendants, but his case was severed from the others after his previous lawyer told the judge she was not prepared to go to trial.