Published On: Sat, Oct 13th, 2018

Oakland gang violence: Jermaine Earnest, aka Acorn Maine, John Daniels, aka Lil Jon, plead guilty in murder of rival gang members

Two members of the West Oakland gang, Acorn, were sentenced for their respective roles in a criminal racketeering conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The Honorable Phyllis J. Hamilton, Chief United States District Judge, today sentenced Jermaine Earnest, a/k/a “Acorn Maine,” to 37 years in prison, following a guilty plea entered by the defendant on May 2, 2018.  The Honorable Phyllis J. Hamilton previously sentenced John Devalier Daniels, a/k/a “Lil Jon,” to 14 years in prison on September 5, 2018, following a guilty plea entered by the defendant on May 7, 2018.  Both defendants admitted being involved with murder, robbery, and distribution of controlled substances.

According to his plea agreement, Earnest, 28, of Oakland, admitted that he became involved with the Acorn gang in or about 2006.  He acknowledged that he agreed to participate in the Acorn gang’s activities to help achieve its objectives, including shooting members of rival gangs.  Among the crimes Earnest committed for Acorn was a shooting that occurred on April 16, 2014.  Earnest admitted that on the morning of April 16, he carried a gun and rode in a car with other Acorn members to a rival gang’s neighborhood.  When Earnest saw a man he believed was a rival gang member, he fired several shots at the victim who died as a result of his injuries.

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photo by Okan Caliskan via Pixabay

A federal grand jury indicted Earnest on October 16, 2014, for illegal gun possession in September 2014, a superseding indictment was subsequently filed on June 18, 2015, adding additional charges related to the April 16, 2014 shooting, and a second superseding indictment was filed on January 25, 2018.  On May 2, 2018, Earnest pleaded guilty to the following charges from the second superseding indictment: racketeering conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1); and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

Daniels, 31, of Oakland, also admitted he was a member of the Acorn gang.  Daniels admitted he was a member of the Acorn gang and was the driver of the rental vehicle used in the April 16, 2014 drive-by shooting to which Earnest admitted.   Daniels also admitted he was engaged in narcotics trafficking and robbery as part of his support for the Acorn gang.

Daniels was named as a defendant in the June 18, 2015 superseding indictment, and the January 25, 2018, second superseding indictment.  On May 7, 2018, Daniels pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), in the second superseding indictment.

In addition to the prison terms, Chief District Judge Hamilton also ordered each of the defendants to serve five years of supervised release.

The case is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Oakland Police Department (OPD).

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