The YSL RICO trial is still going, and this week, the mother of Donovan Thomas Jr., who was shot to death in a 2015 alleged gang-related incident, took the stand in Young Thug’s trial on Monday. This was the only day of witness testimony scheduled for the week as the trial approaches its six-month mark. The trial, which began on November 27, 2023, will hit the six-month mark on Monday, May 27, recognized as Memorial Day. It is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, May 28.

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Donovan Thomas Jr., then 26, was murdered in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood. Two other victims were also shot. Shannon Stillwell and Deamonte Kendrick, two of the remaining defendants in Young Thug’s trial, were charged in connection with the shooting.

Thomas’ mother, Shawonna Edmond, testified emotionally about how she learned of her son’s death and the days that followed. Once can’t imagine what she experienced on that day. When prosecutors asked, “Did you lay your son to rest?” she replied, “Yes, yes we did.” Asked when the burial occurred, Edmond tearfully responded, “It was January 17, 2015.”


Prosecutors also called several other witnesses, including an Atlanta police officer. The trial has seen numerous delays, including an incident late last year when Stillwell was stabbed in custody at the Fulton County Jail.

Prosecutors aim to prove that YSL, or Young Slime Life, is a criminal street gang responsible for numerous offenses. Defense attorneys contend that YSL is merely the name of a record label, Young Stoner Life. Jeffery Williams, professionally known as Young Thug, was indicted on May 9, 2022. He is on trial in Fulton County in a significant RICO case involving himself and five other defendants. The trial opened with a statement from Fulton County Assistant Chief District Attorney Adriane Love on November 27, 2023.

Young Thug faces eight criminal counts under a federal law designed to combat organized crime. Georgia, one of 33 states with its own RICO law, allows for the prosecution of criminal enterprises that do not need to exist as long as those under the federal statute.

Defense attorneys have expressed concerns that the trial could extend for years due to the extensive witness list the prosecution intends to call. They argue that Williams is not the leader of an alleged gang as claimed by prosecutors.

Eighteen jurors have been selected, including six alternates. Two jurors have already been excused: one for a medical emergency and the other due to relocating out of Fulton County.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville has expressed frustration with the trial’s slow pace, urging both defense attorneys and prosecutors to be better prepared. He has indicated a willingness to hold court on weekends if necessary, stating, “I have spoken with our sheriff and, consistent with the court, if need be we’ll start having court on Saturday and Sunday.”

In addition to the RICO charges, Williams faces charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of codeine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm, and possession of a machine gun. Prosecutors have indicated they plan to call approximately 150 more witnesses.