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Detroit street gang leader faces life in prison for murder and racketeering

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Detroit “It’s Just Us” (IJU) street gang leader Duane Peterson was convicted by a federal jury on Friday of racketeering, drug trafficking and murder charges. He now faces a mandatory life sentence.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan (USAO-EDMI).

The IJU gang, founded by Peterson and his brothers, operated from 2014 to 2019 by “engaging in acts of violence – including murder and attempted murder – obstruction of justice and intimidation The IJU also trafficked heroin containing fentanyl to Jackson, Flint, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio,” according to USAO-EDMI.

The other seven defendants in that case pleaded guilty and only Peterson stood trial.

In May 2017, Peterson and his accomplices were paid $10,000 to kill handyman Christopher Marcilis. Marcilis also insulted the gang and a deceased member, further spurring the IJU gang to take the job, according to the Detroit News.

After meeting him at a local bar and lounge, Peterson and the others shot Marcilis. As Marcilis fled, he fell, at which point Peterson shot him in the back of the neck. Later, Peterson shared the reward with a second, unidentified gang member, according to the Detroit News.

“Duane Peterson was a violent and dangerous man who terrorized the Detroit area for years, dealing drugs, committing murders and participating in a number of non-fatal shootings. The actions of Peterson and his associates have had a devastating effect on the safety of the community,” said James Tarasca, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Detroit.

Peterson is serving another sentence in state prison for possession of a firearm as a felon and assault with intent to commit murder. Prior to his latest sentencing, Peterson’s earliest release date was May 6, 2042.



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