A reputed Miami gang leader who investigators believe engineered a bloody daylight ambush to avenge his toddler’s murder will serve just 10 years as a part of a plea deal.
A grand jury in 2009 indicted Emmanuel “Mano” Cadillon, 32, and three others for the brazen gun attack on a minivan that left three men dead in Allapattah.
But the case was dealt a significant blow when one co-defendant, Robert “Chico” Shaw refused to testify against Cadillon, after initially agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors.
And the sole surviving victim also backtracked on a claim to police that he identified Cadillon’s voice during the attack, according to a Miami-Dade State Attorney’s memo released Tuesday.
Despite DNA evidence linking Cadillon to a cell phone found at the scene, prosecutors had only two jailhouse informants and the likelihood of a conviction at trial was “not great,” Assistant State Attorney prosecutor Michael Von Zamft wrote in his final memo.
Last month, prosecutors dropped the three murder charges and Cadillon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.
Investigators say Cadillon, his brother and two others were part of a Little Haiti gang known as “68th Street,” which was involved in a vicious tit-for-tat war in 2006 with a rival group known as the “Zombie Boys.”
The spasm of violence was marked by the murder of Cadillon’s 18-month-old son, Zykarious, who was fatally shot, execution-style, in the front yard of their Little River home by gunmen apparently targeting the boy’s father.
In their memo, prosecutors revealed for the first time that Edwin Terma, 21, was the man suspected of murdering the child. Another man, Luckson Branel, 19, was the suspected getaway driver.
A jailhouse informant later told Miami detectives that Cadillon felt “pressure” from the boy’s mother to get payback.
So on June 5, 2006, the trap was set, according to Miami police. Terma, Branel, Lamar Atron Kelly, 20, and Fedeline Prunier were at Miami-Dade’s criminal courthouse, where Branel had appeared for a hearing.
Phone records showed that Cadillon’s cohorts were apparently at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, casing the men as they left in a rented Honda minivan, according to the memo.
A few miles away, the ambush unfolded. At least two cars boxed in the Honda van in the 1100 block of Northwest 39th Street, a residential road just off the Airport Expressway.
The masked gunmen popped out of the cars, spraying the van with more than 50 rounds and killing Terma, Branel and Kelly. Prunier, known as “Pickle,” survived.
The investigation got a break when Miami homicide detectives found a Nokia cell phone on the scene, apparently dropped by one of the gunmen. DNA from several people was found on the phone, including Cadillon’s.
He was arrested in Miramar in July 2006 after an all-night SWAT standoff in a case unrelated to the slayings. He later was convicted for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
Three years after the 2006 triple-murder, a Miami-Dade grand jury indicted Cadillon, his brother, Samuel Cadillon, Shaw and Junior ``RaRa’’ Sylvin, 27.
Miami-Dade prosecutors had agreed to drop the death penalty against Shaw in exchange for his testimony against the others. He admitted to helping to scout out the victims’ movements from the Miami’s courthouse and said he was in one of the cars that cut off the minivan.
Then, he stopped cooperating. Prosecutors decided to drop the case against Shaw, 34, because he is already serving a life prison term for an unrelated attempted murder.
The murder charges were dropped in 2010 against Sylvin, who is in federal prison serving a 13-year term for drug trafficking and firearm charges.
Last month, prosecutors also dropped the murder charges against Samuel Cadillon; he instead pleaded guilty to shooting a deadly missile and agreed to 6 years of probation.
Police also investigated the 68th Street gang’s possible connection to a similar triple murder in January 2007, where three people were shot to death inside their SUV in another daylight ambush – this time on Northwest 79th Street in Little Haiti.
Killed were Enel Jean, 22, who was on his way back from court; his girlfriend, Sheena Pierre, 21, and Jean’s mother, Jean, 47.
No arrests were made in that case.