Gang membership becomes focal point of 2013 Lupton City murder trial

Jeremy Reynolds

Hunched over and gripping both sides of the podium Thursday in Hamilton County Criminal Court, the prosecutor asked the police officer a question.

"The defendant in this case, Jeremy Reynolds," prosecutor Kevin Brown began. "Is he a validated gang member?"

"Yes, he is," said Officer Curtis Penney, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

The third day of Reynolds' murder trial veered in a new direction after prosecutors introduced evidence of his participation in the Gangster Disciples.

Gang violence has dominated citywide conversation since April 10, when 22-year-old Robert Jackson was shot to death while leaving the Sky Zoo nightclub. His killing ignited a wave of retaliatory violence, police say, which reached a fever pitch earlier this week when a 17-year-old was killed in a drive-by attack, two pregnant women were shot and nearly died, and a third pregnant woman was stabbed.