July 23, 2019 — Reputed Detroit drug chief Jimmy Lattner recently accepted a plea deal in his state gun case out of Macomb County, Michigan and will serve three years in prison. He faced a 10-year term if convicted at trial in charges stemming from a search of his property following the murder of his girlfriend two and a half years ago. He’ll be sentenced in September.

The 44-year old Lattner led the World Domination Gang in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His rap sheet includes narcotics-related convictions in 1997 and 2001, resulting in a near-decade federal prison stint.

Lattner’s current case was collateral damage from a lovers quarrel. Marcie Griffin, Lattner’s scorned ex girlfriend and mother to his two children, was found guilty at a June trial for having Julii Johnson, the woman he left her for. The 34-year old Johnson was gunned down in front of Lattner’s suburban Detroit house as she left for work on the morning of January 13, 2017.

Griffin contracted Johnson’s murder to Eric Gibson — the triggerman — using Eastside Detroit street legend turned real estate impresario George (G.G.) Rider as her middleman. Gibson’s DNA was found on the murder weapon.

The first set of DNA testing at the Michigan State Police lab also placed Lattner’s fingerprints on the weapon’s gun grip alongside Gibson’s. Macomb County prosecutors and the three MSP lab technicians responsible for the testing claim the initial results tying Lattner to the weapon was s mistake due to an inadvertent sample switch. An eye witness to the crime described the assailant dressed in a similar fashion as Lattner was on the day of the hit and police dogs tracked the scent path of the shooter running away from Lattner’s house and then back towards it.

When police officers searched Lattner’s home and Ford F-150 truck parked in the driveway in the direct aftermath of Johnson’s slaying, they found more than $500,000 in cocaine-scented cash in his attic and an unregistered 9 millimeter Ruger pistol with the serial number scratched off hidden inside a secret compartment custom built into his vehicle. According to court filings, he was uncooperative with detectives at the scene of the crime.

Attorneys for Griffin and Rider theorized it was actually Lattner who was responsible for Johnson’s homicide, not their clients. But the jury didn’t buy it. Lattner asserted his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and wouldn’t testify at the trial. Investigators pegged Lattner as the prime suspect in the slaying early on in the probe, however eliminated him from consideration shortly thereafter.

Rider believes he is the victim of a government vendetta launched against him after he got out of prison in the 2000s (federal drug conviction) and transitioned into the business world. In the months before he was arrested for the Johnson murder, he sold a piece of property near the new District Detroit neighborhood anchored by the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena for two million bucks.

Most of the evidence against Rider arose from text messages sent between Griffin’s cell phone and a cell phone found on Rider during a controversial stop-and-search registered to a company he did work with. There was no physical evidence connecting ether Griffin or Rider to the crime.

Griffin, Rider and Gibson will be sentenced to life in prison in Macomb County Circuit Court on July 31. Griffin, 48, and Rider, 60, plan to file appeals.

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