, Port Arthur, Texas

April 9, 2014

PA man sentenced to 30 years for gang-linked shooting

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

— A Port Arthur man who went on a retaliatory shooting spree and injured an innocent bystander has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Todd Small, 26, was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced on Tuesday following a jury trial presided over by Judge John Stevens.

The aggravated assault occurred shortly after 4 a.m. March 30, 2013 at Prince Hall Apartments, located in the 900 block of West 14th Street. Port Arthur Police located a victim who had been shot in the back. The victim was an innocent bystander who was caught in a “hail of bullets fired from an AR-15 assault rifle by Small,” according to a press release from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Small reportedly confessed that he had gone to the apartments to seek retaliation for the murder earlier that same night of Marcus “Big Country” Senegal at the Old School Shack on Houston Avenue.

The prosecution was based on placing Small’s confession into evidence and the testimony of the victim and investigating officers. Jurors deliberated for a little more than one and a half hours before finding Small guilty of the felony charge of aggravated assault.

In testimony during the punishment phase of the trial, Small admitted he and Senegal were members of the 8th Street Crew, a “Crip” affiliated gang. When it became apparent the shooting of Senegal was done by members of the West Side “Bloods” gang, Small went to Prince Hall complex where he believed he would find either the shooters or some other affiliates of the Blood set. He also admitted in court that he had been previously convicted of two felony drug possession charges and a misdemeanor weapons charge.

The shooting death of Senegal occurred around the Easter holiday 2013 in front of Old School Shack following a disturbance between two groups of individuals. Senegal, 29, received a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen and a second man, age 34, received a non-fatal gunshot wound to the lower leg, according to a story that ran in the March 31, 2013 edition of the Port Arthur News.

As police were securing this scene on Houston Avenue they heard gunfire at Prince Hall Apartments. This second round of shooting — in which two more people were shot — occurred less than an hour later. A third shooting occurred two days later at the complex that left another man with injuries.

City leaders and law enforcement met near the corner of DeWalt and West 14th Street with Carver Terrace Apartments as a backdrop and flanked by Prince Hall Village Apartments to show their support of the residents and take a stand against gun violence in the city. All in all more than 200 rounds were fired during the three incidents.

“People in this community are tired of gangs and gang violence,” Prosecutor Clint Woods said. “Our victim wasn’t involved in any way. He was an innocent bystander caught in the sights of this thug.”

Small was sentenced to 30 years. Due to the use of deadly force he will have to serve 15 years “hard time” before he can be considered for parole.

Two suspects are in custody charged with the murder of Senegal. They include Telly Joyce Jr., who is in the state penitentiary awaiting transfer back to Jefferson County or trial, and Keenan Anderson, whose trial is set for May 5.