Moreland found guilty of 2023 murder

Published 6:33 pm Thursday, May 23, 2024

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A jury has found Lateef Jamil Moreland guilty of a January 2023 murder and participation in the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang.

On May 17, 2024, after a weeklong trial, a Troup County jury found Lateef Jamil Moreland, aka: “L.J.,” aka: “Monsta Black 74,” aka: “David Black,” aka: “Hatebaby G,” 24, of Valdosta, guilty of Malice Murder, Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Possession of Firearm during Commission of a Felony, and four violations of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Coweta Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge N. Markette Baker presided over the trial and will sentence Moreland on June 5, 2024 in the Superior Court of Troup County.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Jack Winne prosecuted the case. LaGrange Police Department Detectives Darrell Prichard and Jarrod Anderson led the investigation.

The evidence presented at trial showed: Just before midnight on January 28, 2023, as Alan Dale Huguley, Jr. sat in the driver’s seat of his sedan in the parking lot of the Quality Inn on Jameson Drive in LaGrange, two masked gunman approached his vehicle and fired at least twenty-one shots into the vehicle, before running off of the property. Mr. Huguley, who was 30 years old, suffered twelve gunshot wounds. The evidence demonstrated, and the jury found with its verdict, that Moreland was associated with the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang and that the murder of Huguley was essentially a hit committed in furtherance of the gang’s interests and to increase Moreland’s status within the gang.

Investigators obtained surveillance video footage from a convenience store in LaGrange that showed Moreland, without a mask, on the same day as the murder wearing the exact same clothes as one of the two shooters. At the time, investigators did not know who Moreland was but in June 2023, he was identified and arrested on June 10 in his hometown of Valdosta. With the help of the GBI crime lab, investigators then matched ballistics evidence from the murder to a distinct teal-in-color Taurus handgun, which had been seized in an unrelated investigation by the Valdosta Police Department on May 31, 2023. The investigation revealed digital evidence, including numerous images from social media, which showed Moreland in possession of the distinct teal-colored handgun. Moreland had been released from prison on September 19, 2022, after serving five years in prison for a Lowndes County Robbery by Force conviction.

“This is another tragic reminder that gang violence remains present in our community. The District Attorney’s Office remains committed to seeking substantial prison sentences for gang crime,” District Attorney Herb Cranford said in a press release.