Federal prosecutors said Thursday they will not seek the death penalty against 14 accused members of the Tiny Oriental Posse, who have been indicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
During a status conference in U.S. District Court, a federal prosecutor said his office had received word from the U.S. Attorney General's office last week directing them not to seek capital punishment.
The 14 men were indicted last year as part of the federal government's effort to shut down what they say is a violent street gang. Prosecutors say the gang has a decade-long history of murders, shootings, drug dealing and other violence, including the Nov. 7, 1998, fatal shooting of Bethany Hyde, in which TOP members mistook the car she was in for that of a rival gang member.
Over the past few years, federal prosecutors in Utah have used the RICO law, which was designed to go after more traditional organized crime, to break up violent gangs.
During Thursday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell set a motion hearing for Dec. 10 to deal with numerous motions filed by defense attorneys.
A jury trial has been set for March 2008.