‘Wannabe’ gang members sentenced

Hays Post

The Ellis County Attorney’s office recently prosecuted five members of what county attorney Tom Drees said was a “wannabe gang.” According to Drees, five individuals, two of whom are juveniles, identified themselves as members of a gang called “187 Crips.” Drees added their affiliation was self-proclaimed and there was no indication the five were officially tied to any known street gangs.

According to Drees, the group lured a 17-year-old to the home of one of the defendants, where four of the five allegedly beat the victim while the fifth watched.  The victim suffered bruising to the face, head, chest, body and legs as well as a chipped tooth, severely bruised shoulder and ribs, and a badly strained wrist.

“Explanation given by the defendants who gave an explanation,” Drees said, “was that he had identified them as members of the gang, in violation of their code.”

The group’s self-proclaimed gang affiliation pushes the allegations under a special provision of Kansas sentencing guidelines. Under Kansas law, if it is shown at sentencing that an offender committed a felony for the benefit of or at the direction of, or in any association with a “criminal street gang,” the court has the option to impose a prison sentence rather than probation.

Judge Glenn R. Braun ordered extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution for the minors, which means they have a juvenile sentence they are on probation for, and they also have an adult sentence that is imposed. If the children violate their juvenile probation, they will serve the adult sentence with the Department of Corrections.

The following were sentenced:
Derek James Reniker
Derek James Reniker
Age: 16
Charges: Aggravated battery level 7 person felony with a special provision for claiming to be a member of a street gang.
Sentenced to 24 months probation with intensive supervision through the juvenile justice authority. Underlying adult sentence is 12 months underlying with probation for 24 months. Reniker had a prior juvenile conviction for battery.

Brennon Christopher HiltonBrennon Christopher Hilton
Age: 16
Charges: Aggravated battery level 7 person felony; felony level 8 criminal threat with a special provision for claiming to be a member of a street gang.
Sentenced to 12 months probation with intensive supervision through the juvenile justice authority. Underlying sentence is 12 months on the battery and six months on the criminal threat.

Jacob Leo Towns
Age: 21
Jacob Leo TownsCharges: aggravated battery level 7 person felony with a special provision for claiming to be a member of a street gang.
Sentenced to 24 months probation through community corrections. Underlying sentence of 27 months. Probation to start after serving time in another criminal threat case, for which probation was revoked and Towns is serving with community corrections.
* There is currently a motion to revoke probation on the aggravated battery case as Towns was arrested in Rooks County on Dec. 3 for two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
Andrew Sanchez Cervantes
Andrew Sanchez Cervantes

Age: 30
Charges: attempted aggravated battery level 7 person felony with a special provision for claiming to be a member of a street gang.
Sentenced to 12 months probation under supervision of community corrections with an underlying sentence of 12 months. Probation to run consecutive to probation from a previous case of attempted aggravated battery.

Tyler Joseph FlinnTyler Joseph Flinn
Age: 20
Charges: aggravated battery level 7 person felony with a special provision for claiming to be a member of a street gang.
Sentenced to 24 months probation through community corrections with underlying sentence of 12 months.

Drees said probation through community corrections is a middle ground between standard probation through court services and serving prison time. Community corrections is more intensive supervision, including more frequent urinalysis, more meetings with probation officers, and surveillance officers randomly visiting the homes and jobs of those on probation to verify their location.

“I don’t want to send out the message that Hays now has gangs, “ Drees added, “but we do take very serious when people want to talk about being in a gang or claiming to affiliate with a gang, obviously that ratchets up law enforcement taking a look at them.  The purpose of street gangs is to promote crimes and violence, and we don’t want that.  We don’t want to see that in Ellis County.”

  • Paula Snider

    So why aren’t these fine upstanding men in prison?

    • Uncle Thomas

      Because the county attorney doesn’t have the budget to prosecute every dead beat, the sheriff doesn’t have the budget to house every dead beat, community corrections or court services does not have the budget to monitor every dead beat and the citizens don’t want to flip the bill.
      To remedy the problem we would need competent prosecutors, competent judges, competent law enforcement, additional community corrections or court services personnel…who wants to pay for all this?

  • Reality

    Idiots with bad haircuts…. I’m sure the real Crips in Chicago and Memphis would be less than pleased to know their name has been used by this group.

  • redneck idiot

    give me some time with these heathens I will show them how tough they think they are.

    • Elle Hansen

      Your statement is much akin to a terroristic threat and has been documented. Furthermore, I would imagine that, assuming you’re an adult, if you chose to “show them how tough they think they are,” keeping in mind that several of the subjects to whom you refer are minor children, that you would end up in a far worse legal situation than these young men. In fact, your comment demonstrated that your character is for all intents and purposes more deplorable, (again, assuming you are an adult and ought to know better – legally and morally) than that of those involved by virtue of your implied desire to take matters of justice rightfully designated to the courts into your own hands. To do so, or express the desire that you have to do so, constitutes the same moral turpitude and crime as the aforementioned offenders.

      • Rocket Science

        Elle, shut up! You are just annoying. Being annoying isnt how you get people to side with you.

        • Elle Hansen

          You’re too funny. First, you utilize terms that are subjective, at least. Second, you don’t post using your name because you’re a coward. Most hilarious of all? you actually think I give a shred of a f##k what your opinion or that of anyone else is about me? It’s of precious little consequence who does or doesn’t side with me. After all, plenty of a$$hats sided with Hitler. Wait, totes forgot I’m talking to a crowd who thinks an attorney and not a judge sworn to uphold the law decides sentencing. So learning from that era of history almost certainly is beyond your comprehensional grasp, also. But thank you for once again painting the most perfect illustration that is the backwoods chit kicker non-logic so beloved and overused by the majority of inbred Ellis County folk… Or should I say your cousins…ehrm… I mean brothers and sisters or moms and dads or however that works.

  • Runner

    Drees wants to send a “strong message” by giving these losers probation??? No wonder Hays is in the running with Wichita for crime!!!

    • Elle Hansen

      The judge – not the prosecution – imposes sentencing.

  • telly


  • guest

    Flinn looks inbread through n through. .knowing his mother, it’s probably fetal alcohol syndrome..

    • Lynn

      Really hayspost? This is an allowed comment? Pathetic.

      • Wowhaysisterrible

        U must be the mother then lol

        • Drew

          That may be the case, but rather the commenter is being very un-friendly.

          • Drew

            The comment was unneeded and unwarranted.
            Before you comment on something… be sure to use proper english.

  • Lookawayfrommewhenyouseeme

    Look at these guys. They NEEDED to be a gang because they were probably getting beat up all over the place. Hahahaha

  • doyourjobdrees

    Is Hilton’s mother the same Hilton busted for drugs this week? ..nice.!!

    • backhoe

      Brother and sister I do believe. Apple=tree.

    • Reaper

      I seriously doubt that they are brother and sister. She is 30+ years old. It probably her son.

  • Reaper

    How are these older (adults) idiots just getting probation. Come on Drees pull your head out of your #ss.

    • Elle Hansen

      In a court of law, the judge – not the prosecution – imposes sentencing.

  • sayin

    a 17 year old gets lured into the house and gets beaten up. and the thugs get probation. real incentive.

  • Haysisterrble

    Once again dree gives more ppl probation lol wow

    • Elle Hansen

      Explain to me, please, how Tom Drees sentenced them? The judge – not the prosecution – imposes sentence.

      • Uncle Thomas

        Elle have you sit in on court proceedings in Ellis Cowndy Ks? The defense fumbles through a few files and then states the file was received the day of the proceeding and the judge grants…time. Then another appearance and the cowndy attorney states the case and what has been agreed to and the judge like an elected bobble head nods acceptance. Technically your are correct, but the judge follows the cowndy attorneys lead.

      • Marishka Hargitay

        OK I will try…I am kind of an expert because I have watched Law & Order for like 10 years. These young men were arrested -> The incident reports and narratives were all completed by the victims and officers involved -> This is then sent to the County Attorney (Tom Drees) -> He reviews said documents and thinks I bet these guys will say they are guilty I am going to make them an offer of probation -> The Crips here that and say “Awesome I don’t care. Sure, we be guilty”. -> County Attorney then presents a guilty plea under the terms he outlined and the Judge accepts it and to use your word imposes sentence. So yes the judge imposes the sentence, but the sentence was recommended by the County Attorney.

        Hope this clears it up, you asked so many people to explain this to you.

        Sincerely, Marishka Hargitay

        • Elle Hansen

          …because we all know that everything on television constitutes reality. Right. What about sentencing guidelines that are law? Suppose Drees is somehow responsible for those, as well, right? It doesn’t take a legislature to make laws… It’s all Tom Drees fault! Gotta love to laugh at your logic.

          • Uncle Thomas

            Miss Elle the comments about TV were a joke. Light hearted humor. We all know how and where statutes are promulgated.
            You do seem to be a bit full of yourself. Have you recently taken an intro to law course or blaw 101? Your comments are correct in theory, but a bit idealistic. You obviously do not have experience in the court room or around law firms. Oftentimes it is more like let’s make a deal.

          • Elle Hansen

            How are you able to know who does or doesn’t have experience in a legal profession by what one may write in the comments on an online news article? What is your qualifying expertise? Just curious.

          • Uncle Thomas

            Elle by your writings it is my belief you are less than 25 years of age. Very naïve to the ways of the world. Most likely attended a small liberal arts college and have a degree in elementary ed or social sciences. You would like to pursue a law degree as civil issues spark an interest, but are unable to reach the 171 or above on the LSAT to achieve acceptance to a prominent law school. Washburn Law would suffice as your work would most likely be in a social field and you should be able to break the 150 score to be accepted to a mediocre school. You are trying to find your identity in this world as your early years were not fulfilling and you most like were a product of the system. You are trying to impress to the point of intimidate/bully some on HaysPost as you enjoy writing. Your writings show your BA, but lack transition and are lacking maturity…your pushing your words to impress someone.

          • Elle

            While you did opine plenty, you evaded my question.

            For the record, my LSAT score was 170 upon my first attempt and I’ve received acceptance to an impressive assortment of law schools.

            Furthermore, I doubt greatly it was by my writings that you came to your conclusions. And I can assure you that many of the conclusions you’ve drawn are entirely incorrect.

          • Uncle Thomas

            Elle I only wanted to set you up with a “slow pitch”…swing. For someone who wants to play the subtle social goody role. You really are searching for a bit of attention. Thus the “self-ie”…I was wanting you to swing at the LSAT score and comment on yours, which worked. As previously stated you are “full of yourself”. See I set you up to divulge more info on yourself and in turn I gave nothing :-). Aww to be young and naïve again… another amateur chess player.

          • Elle Hansen

            And most of us who do enjoy real life don’t want to be around ppl who act as many of these do… Sadly this isn’t the exception to the rule. It’s the mindset of the majority. Thank you for having the courage to say something.

          • Uncle Thomas

            “the mindset of the majority” can you qualify that statement? The majority of those posting on HaysPost.com? The majority of those you come in contact with? Again in your field you will not cross paths with many “rocket scientists”…mostly bottom feeders!

          • Elle

            I’ll be glad to answer your questions as soon as you’re finished conveniently evading providing an answer to mine. Again, you are jumping to conclusions about my background/life and much of it is news to me! But hey… I’m pretty forgetful.

          • old “friend”

            Same old Elle that was kicked out of the campus center for always needing attention and drama at any cost, most often by being the loudest in the room and putting herself on an exaggerated pedestal through half truths and stories. I thought you left Hays to live somewhere in Nebraska?

  • Lynn

    And now racist comments? How is this a respectable news source? Perhaps you should do what HDN online did several years back: require posters to log in using Facebook. That out a swift end to cruel and unnecessary, gossipy comments.

  • Elle Hansen

    Is it really appropriate to publish the names of the minors involved? Seems like a tremendously bad judgment call, not to mention a little bit more than unethical, on the part of hays post. Part of me wonders if that doesn’t place Hays Post in a bad place legally; from a civil standpoint…?

    • Just asking

      Have you read the Kansas law regarding public record, or are you just trying to play devil’s advocate?

      • Elle Hansen

        Hmmmm… Let’s see… Rest assured! The law, state and federal, provides a plethora of allowances for any minor child & their family to recover damages should they incur harm due to the choice of a media outlet to publish such inflammatory information. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be a giant stretch to argue, legally, that for such harm to come upon said minor as a direct result is foreseeable. Once foreseeability is established, the term negligence comes into play. Once negligence is proved, the minor and their family are then legally entitled not only to compensatory damages, but also punitive damages. So considering the threatening statements already being made toward the minors in this article, by writers in this comment section such as idiot heathen and others and the fact that said comments have remained for a considerable period of time; without intervention from any type of moderator… I’d really venture a bet that if harm were to befall a youth mentioned in the article and the matter were heard by a jury, that it wouldn’t manage to serve hays post.com or her parent corporation or their investors financially well at all by the time said hypothetical jury returned its verdict. Perhaps hp should right about now remove the article in good faith effort to prevent potential harm?!?

        • Also, it’s write, not right

          Going to have to quote a movie here. “what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

          • Elle Hansen

            Ahh! When I talk, it types. Considering it’s brand new as of yesterday, I don’t expect said technology to function perfectly.

            A personal attack does not an intellectual make. It merely demonstrates your inability to comprehend what was written; and consequently explains the lack of intelligent rebuttal.

            Please allow me to extend an exemption to you when you’re unable to comprehend what I’ve written, right?!?

          • Guie LeDeuche

            Okay, a simple “wrong” would have been just fine.

    • A_citizen_patriot

      In a general sense I agree with you. When hays post publishes the names and offenses of anyone arrested without a follow up, they may be opening themselves to lawsuit. Cops can arrest you for just about anything, but that doesn’t mean that you are convicted on thoes charges.

  • Thee

    Is if wise to use “wannabe?” Their idealistic lifestyle was inspired from somewhere. This seems to act as a taunt. There’s very few reasons to taunt. To lure. 187 was a radio code for murder not an area code made famous by a snoop dogg song. This lack if knowledge and seemingly tough stuff flaunt is only drawing negative attention

    • Elle Hansen

      Agreed! Hays doesn’t need to bait her growing population of at-risk youth. Said comments are hardly constructive. If Haysians didn’t take such pleasure in the resultant errors, troubles and downfalls of others they could actually be part of the solution and the positive results/community improvement that followed. It’s tremendously sad that most won’t choose the latter.