A 40-year-old Riverhead man was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role in the 2015 murder of Thomas Lacolla Monday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jason Langhorn, who authorities said is an associate of the “Red Stone Gorilla” subset of the Bloods gang, was sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert and will also face three years of supervised release.
Mr. Langhorn, who was also known as “Hov,” pleaded guilty to the murder in August 2021.
“[Mr.] Langhorn has been held accountable for his role in a heartless shooting that claimed the life of an unintended victim,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “We hope today’s sentence brings a measure of solace and closure to the victim’s family and sends a clear message that those who commit brutal acts of gang violence will be brought to justice and punished.”
On Nov. 17, 2015, 27-year-old Thomas Lacolla was sitting in a car in Riverside with Trendell Walker, an alleged rival gang member and the intended victim of the shooting, when Mr. Langhorn and two other gang members opened fire, sending more than 39 shots into the vehicle and killing Mr. Lacolla instantly.
“What the defendant and the others did not realize was that [Mr. Walker] had already exited the vehicle and [Mr. Lacolla] … was seated in the driver’s seat,” prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentencing letter to the judge in August.
According to court documents, Mr. Walker was a “worldwide plate,” which within the gang meant that he was “to be attacked on sight, and if possible, killed.” Mr. Langhorn and the other shooters were armed with a nine-millimeter pistol, a .357-caliber revolver and an AR-15 style assault rifle, officials said.
Mr. Langhorn was arrested in October 2019 following an investigation by the FBI Long Island Gang Task Force.
In his letter to Judge Seybert, Mr. Peace requested Mr. Langhorn be sentenced to 30 years in prison, citing his “significant” criminal history. His prior convictions include misdemeanors for stealing a vehicle in 2001 and a 2014 assault, a felony for cocaine possession in 2007 and felony firearms possession in 2011. The letter also referenced “several additional criminal acts” Mr. Langhorn participated in as a gang member, including conspiring to murder another rival gang member and dealing drugs.
“The defendant and his co conspirators went hunting for another human being to kill him,” Mr. Peace wrote. “The killing of Mr. Lacolla was the result of a targeted hit by a violent street gang directed at a rival gone wrong, a killing in which the defendant readily agreed to participate.”
The court filing also details how Mr. Lacolla came to be killed. In early 2015, gang leader Jimmy Dean of Calverton began to have issues with a rival gang member, listed in the letter as Trendell Walker.
A shooting occurred in July 2015 when a “Stones” gang member fired a 9mm handgun and struck Mr. Walker in the leg. On Nov. 15, 2015, the rival gang member opened fire on the Stones gang members in a parked vehicle as retaliation. No one was struck during the shooting and it was not reported to law enforcement at the time.
Two days later, Mr. Langhorn and three other Stones members conspired to kill him after learning of his location in Riverside.
When they found the vehicle, they saw a man in the driver’s seat, but failed to realize it was not their intended target, but a friend of Mr. Walker’s: Mr. Lacolla.
The U.S. attorney noted that Mr. Langhorn has “never truly attempted” to rehabilitate himself following prior interactions with the criminal justice system. “There is nothing exceptional in the defendant’s personal history that would explain the defendant’s continued decisions to engage in criminal conduct. Indeed, his mother reports that was always ‘very loved’ and was ‘a good kid who lost his way somewhere along the way,’ ” the prosecutor wrote. Mr. Langhorn had been facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Mr. Langhorn was indicted in 2019 alongside several others, including Terrill Latney, the getaway driver who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2020 after pleading guilty to racketeering, conspiring to distribute narcotics and participating in Mr. Lacolla’s murder.
Court documents also allege that Mr. Dean ordered the 2015 killing as a leader of the gang. He pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge July 29 and is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 25, 2023.