Young Slime Life co-founder Trontavious ‘YSL Slug’ Stephens took the stand on Wednesday as he became the first defendant who took a plea deal to testify in the ongoing Young Thug YSL trial.
Stephens, who was charged with participation in a criminal street gang, had taken an Alford Plea deal from the state in exchange to avoid jail. He received ten years with two (2) years credit for time served and eight (8) years probation.
During his testimony, Stephens claimed that he, along with Walter Murphy and Jeffery Williams, were the founding members of Young Slime Life. He also testified to a statement made to police in 2014 where he claimed that Young Slime Life was the new name for the “Roc Crew” gang from Cleveland Avenue.
Stephens’ testimony began with the prosecution questioning him about his background, his friends, the fact that he didn’t graduate from high school but managed to amass large sums of money, and the Cleveland Avenue Park he and his friends regularly hung out in.
He was also asked about his time spent in juvenile jail and his interaction with “gang activity,” as described by him, which included various hand signs.
The prosecution is setting the tone to decipher some of the hand signs used by Stephens and others, which no doubt will be a recurring theme throughout the trial as the prosecution bolsters its case with videos and social media photos of the defendants throwing up various hand signs which they claim are gang symbols.
One of these signs was one for ‘sex, money, murder’ which meant “blood,” which Stephens used his fingers to form a circle, and a “lower case B” which also meant sex, money, murder.
Interestingly, the prosecution did not start its examination in chief of the witness using the sworn statement Stephens had signed as part of his plea deal but sought to elicit fresh evidence in court by asking about his affiliation to gangs and identifying members of the gang called ‘Roc Crew.’
Stephens appeared to be either forgetful, or maybe the prosecutor, Adriane Love, was asking him too many complicated, double-barrelled questions.
He was also asked to confirm whether any of the seven (7) remaining defendants are a member of Roc Crew.
“No one in this courtroom was raised on Cleveland with me to be able to be a part of Crew called Raised on Cleveland,” Stephens said.
However, when the prosecution pressed whether anyone was affiliated with Roc Crew, Stephens answered, “Yes, because they know me,” and later clarified that he went to the club with all of the defendants, excluding Ryan.
The defendant was asked how long he had known Marquavious Huey, which he said was before 2015, as he used to play basketball at Cleveland Avenue; he also knew Young Thug around the same time as Shannon Stillwell 2013/2014.
He also knew Deamonte Kendrick, aka Yak Gotti, whom he’d known since they attended elementary school.
“I really don’t know too much of the adult him,” he said.
In the meantime, Stephens was asked about the 2014 armed robbery of a woman of her money, cell phone, and other property, which is named in the YSL indictment.
“It was $15,000 of hair weave [but] the allegations and the accusations were completely false, and I went to court, and the judge hung up the case, and the case was dropped,” he said.
As for the prosecution, it entered several exhibits as evidence, including a statement by Stephens from the 2014 matter where he told a detective that Roc Crew went by a new name- Young Slime Life or YSL.
“So at the time, we was going through a phase with the whole Roc Crew gang ordeal and decided that wasn’t the approach that we wanted to take anymore because the Roc Crew gang was known for like committing crimes and being a gang we was trying to take a different approach. We had a passion for music, we often listen to music, love music, so we said hey we gon change the narrative and try to do something positive by creating a music organization,” Stephens explained.
He also clarified that what he said to the officer was taken out of context as YSL, also called Young Successful Living, was “trying to put the whole Roc Crew gang-banging narrative behind us and take a whole different approach.”
His plea deal was also raised by the prosecution and entered into evidence. Stephens, however, said he was not given enough time to sign the deal, noting that he had one day while other defendants had one month.
In Stephens’s deal, he can’t invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, so if he testifies about any other crime that is not in the YSL indictment, he would likely be charged and separate proceedings instituted.
During his sentencing last December, Stephens told the court he was a founding member of YSL and confirmed he robbed a woman for the gang. He also helped prosecutors decipher a text sent from Thug urging that they were too “soft” while committing another crime.
Seven (7) defendants remain in the YSL trial, down from 28. Among the defendants in the trial are rapper Young Thug, who is facing two counts- of conspiracy to violate the RICO act of Georgia and participation in criminal street gang activity; Marquavius Huey, who is charged with 19 offenses; Kendrick Deamonte, who is accused of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act of Georgia and murder, Quamarvious Nichols, charged with two counts of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act of Georgia and theft by receiving stolen property, Rodalius Ryan accused of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act of Georgia, Shannon Stillwell facing seven charges including conspiracy to violate the RICO Act of Georgia, two counts of murder, participation in criminal street gang activity, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon previously convicted for the use of a gun, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.