EXCLUSIVE: Casanova Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty to Murder

One of Casanova’s co-defendants has entered guilty pleas on federal charges of aiding and abetting a September 2020 murder and other crimes related to the Gorilla Stone gang, court records show. Brandon “Stacks” Soto pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, transferring a gun to a juvenile, and arson. Sentencing has been set for April, but it is unclear how much time the prosecution and defense will ask for.

As part of his plea, Soto admitted involvement in a Sept. 21, 2020, murder of a 15-year-old boy in Poughkeepsie, New York. The charging records say he provided a firearm to a juvenile, knowing the juvenile would kill the victim.Four days after the murder, on Sept. 25, 2020, Soto set fire to the BMW that was used in the shooting, according to court records. Soto also pleaded guilty to selling crack cocaine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana as part of the racketeering charge. Soto is the latest of 18 alleged Gorilla Stone members and associates to be sentenced in the two years since the indictment was filed. Casanova has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and drug charges and is awaiting sentencing in early 2023. On Wednesday, a federal judge is expected to sentence Naya “Baby” Austin, an alleged “Godmother” in the gang’s Reign Cave. Prosecutors have asked for a prison term of between 234 and 286 months.

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