CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News is getting new insights into the gang violence that killed an 11-year-old girl and her 15-year-old brother.
Officers found Tatiyana Coates and her brother, Daveon, shot to death inside a home on Libby Lane in the Marlborough subdivision in Jonesboro in October 2016.
Investigators believe gang members invaded the children's home in search of a teen who wasn’t there.
Michael D'Sean White, a former DeKalb County elementary school teacher, is one of the suspected gang members involved.
Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Chris Sperry said the motive for the murders came out for the first time in a recent court hearing.
Investigators said the accused killers were looking for a teen who had taken guns from the gang and whose family had been taken in by the victims' mother as an act of charity.
Sperry also confirmed that social media tied White to three fellow defendants: Jamon Bynum, Vernon Beamon and Christopher Leonard Spencer. Beamon and Spencer were already convicted in another double killing.
Sperry said people in the same Facebook picture have been identified as members of the gang implicated in the murders of the siblings.
"The state does not anticipate that there be any sort of justification for the death of these two innocent children," Sperry said.
"How important is social media in gang prosecutions?" Channel 2's Mark Winne asked Sperry.
"Social media is what made this case," Sperry said.
Sperry confirmed video also found on Facebook shows White and Spencer.
The prosecutor said the suspects have pleaded not guilty to the current indictment or an earlier, similar one.
Last year, lawyer Nicole Fegan maintained White is not gang-affiliated.
“He’s innocent and didn’t have anything to do with this,” Fegan said.
On Friday, Fegan sent Winne the following statement:
"Michael White has been wrongly accused and fiercely maintains his innocence. We want to remind everyone that we are a country of laws that does not skip due process by rendering guilty verdicts in the media. Mr. White looks forward to having his day in court to prove his innocence and reclaim his good character."
Another Facebook video depicts a man in a white T-shirt, identified to us as White, and a man in a turquoise shirt, identified as Bynum. There’s no way of knowing if what looks like a pink gun the man identified as Bynum produces in the video is real.
Last year, Bynum's lawyer, Leon Hicks, told Channel 2 Action News, "At the present time, he remains not guilty and the presumption of innocence will follow him all the way through the trial."
Spencer's lawyer, Robin Shipp, said her client maintains his innocence and looks forward to an adjudication of innocence.
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