Vernell Lee Caesar

One of three shooters during a crowded Fourth of July festival in an El Campo park last year has pleaded guilty and is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Eleven more of the 13 indicted for their actions at Willie Bell Park on Second Street still await trial.

Five to 12 shots rang out on July 2, 2018 as a day for families was interrupted by a fight police say escalated to a riot.

No people were hit, but bullets struck vehicles, including one with a seven-month-old baby inside.

Twenty-six-year-old Vernell Lee Caesar of 603 Mayfield pleaded guilty recently in the 23rd District Court to engaging in organized criminal activity - deadly conduct for his role in the riot, firing one or more of the shots.

Judge Ben Hardin sentenced him to 10 years in prison with credit for 315 days already served.

While in court, Caesar also pleaded guilty to having a prohibited substance or item in a correctional facility on July 15, 2018 and had his probation revoked for being in possession of a controlled substance on Dec. 19, 2017. In those cases, he received concurrent 10-year sentences.

The first man to plead guilty for his part in the Willie Bell Park mayhem was 33-year-old Damien Lee Hood of 406 Mayfield in El Campo. He was given probation and credit for six months in county jail already served in March.

Hardin also fined Hood $500 and ordered him to perform 100 hours community service.

The judge also ordered Hood to “terminate all affiliation with any gangs and will cease all gang activity.”

Hood can’t own any guns and must submit to drug testing as well.

He was not one of the shooters.

Another alleged park shooter, Lloyd Semaj Greely, 27, of 704.5 Alvin in El Campo , had a May 13 trial date delayed.

He faces felony organized criminal activity charges in the Willie Bell case along with indictments for endangering a child (firing a shot in a public park) and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Others facing felony organized criminal activity charges are:

• Foster Anthony Alfred, 23, of 1415 W. Norris in El Campo.

• Deshauntray J. Bishop, 25, of 2331 Bammel Wood in Houston.

• Dontea Marquis Dillard, 23, of 1911 Chapel Heights in Wharton for riot participation. Dillard also faces unrelated charges of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and assault family violence.

• Wilber Dean Grays, 36, of 1411 Julia in El Campo. Grays also faces a charge of endangering a child (firing a shot in a public park).

• Breton Kersee Johnson, 25, of 6052 Hwy. 71 South in El Campo.

• Curtis Wayne Lemons, 36, of 703 Roth in El Campo.

• Mikell Moore, 24, of 406 Mayfield in El Campo.

• and Keith Sparks, 23, of 204 Eleanor in El Campo.

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