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Man who robbed Bone Thugs-N-Harmony rapper gets prison sentence

November 24, 2009 |  4:15 pm

A well-known Los Angeles anti-gang intervention worker was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for a burglary that he admitted was done to benefit a street gang.  

Marlo "Bow Wow" Jones and three codefendants were immediately sentenced after pleading no contest in connection with the robbing and beating of Bizzy Bone of the rap group Bone Thugs-N- Harmony on Jan. 5, authorities said. Bizzy Bone was beaten and choked in his Universal City hotel room and stripped of his jewelry.

At the time of his arrest, Jones was a contract employee for the anti-gang organization Unity One, which according to Los Angeles police was hired for the city’s L.A. Bridges II gang intervention program. He had also worked with a similar organization founded by USC football Coach Pete Carroll.

His arrest led to criticism of publicly funded gang intervention programs, which rely on former gang members to help police prevent violence and get gang members out of the life.

But those who defend such programs said the rewards outweigh the risks because the former gang members have the most credibility in reaching and reforming wayward youths.

Jones, 31, pleaded no contest to a single count of burglary and admitted to an allegation that his actions were committed to benefit a street gang, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Codefendant Ricky Pearson, 30, was sentenced to 19 years in prison; Vanquan Knott, 20, was sentenced to 11 years; and Markiece Goss, 24, received a six-year sentence, Robison said.

Unity One is an anti-gang group founded after the 1992 Los Angeles riots by Darren “Bo” Taylor, a former gang member who became a peacekeeper respected by street toughs as well as by law enforcement and community activists struggling to reduce inner-city violence. Taylor died in 2008.

Connie Rice, a prominent civil rights attorney, described Jones as a charismatic figure who could bring rival gang sects together. But she said he was not a professional and lacked the training and dedication that now are being taught to a new generation of gang intervention workers as part of the city effort she heads up.

-- Andrew Blankstein