A deadly rivalry
Editor's note: Detroit News reporter Robert Snell spent more than a year investigating Detroit’s gang wars and the Justice Department’s attempts to topple the Seven Mile Bloods. This is the second chapter in the "Death by Instagram" series.
Back in Detroit, the Seven Mile Bloods battled with gangs spread across the east side, including the Hustle Boys, Gutta Boys and 6 Mile Chedda Grove.
Hit lists started popping up on Instagram after a chance encounter in summer 2014 between rival gang members at a state parole office on Detroit’s west side.
On July 14, 2014, 23-year-old twins Michael and Martaze Davis arrived at the Lawton Parole Office for a morning meeting with a parole agent. The twins have identical convictions for armed robbery.
The Davis brothers rap together under the name 42 Twinz and have toured extensively while posting rap videos on YouTube.
The rap group 42 Twinz has an active YouTube and Instagram presence. (Video: YouTube)
The twins also belong to the Seven Mile Bloods’ rival gang, the Hustle Boys, prosecutors say.
Around 11 a.m., the twins were finished with their parole meetings. Before they left, they crossed paths with a rival, accused Seven Mile Bloods leader Billy Arnold, prosecutors say.
Billy Arnold (Video: YouTube)
By coincidence, Arnold had his own meeting with a parole agent that morning.
After spotting the twins, Arnold called several friends, including alleged Seven Mile Bloods member Corey Bailey, aka “Cocaine Sonny,” so the group could confront the Hustle Boys.
The Davis twins, meanwhile, climbed into a car filled with two other Hustle Boys, including Djuan “Neff” Page.
The Hustle Boys traveled for about four miles before approaching the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Oakman Boulevard on Detroit’s west side.
The Hustle Boys were shadowed by three cars filled with Seven Mile Bloods members.
Near Grand River and Oakman, a white Chrysler Sebring filled with Seven Mile Bloods accelerated and pulled alongside the Hustle Boys’ car.
Arnold and Bailey leaned out of the Seven Mile Bloods’ car and opened fire, prosecutors allege.
Billy Arnold, left, and Corey Bailey, right. (Video: YouTube)
Michael Davis was shot in the chest.
More bullets struck Page in the left eye and upper body.
Page’s friends flagged down social worker Silhouette O’Neal, who was headed back to work after lunch.
They asked O’Neal for a ride to the hospital.
O’Neal was afraid and initially wouldn’t look at Page.
Djuan "Neff" Page (Photo: Instagram)
When she finally looked, O’Neal screamed.
“All I saw was an eyeball out of the socket,” she testified.
Page was alive, barely.
He lingered in a coma for several weeks before dying. Page was 22.
After Page was killed, Billy Arnold talked about the shooting with Derrick Kennedy, according to testimony. Kennedy pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and testified about the conversation.
“He said he cooked ’em,” Kennedy testified. “He shot ‘em.”
Prosecutors promised jurors during the first round of trials in January that they would hear from another key witness, Michael Davis, who survived the attack and testified twice, in secret, in front of a grand jury.
"You will hear that it's Michael Davis, one of the twins, who identified Billy Arnold and Corey Bailey as the people who shot up that car," Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline told jurors.
It was a promise prosecutors could not keep.
Martaze Davis survived the shooting and was charged in a separate federal gun case in August. At the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rajesh Prasad said Davis was a suspect in the drive-by shooting deaths of rappers Raymell "47 Mell" Campbell and Dominique Brown in July 2017 near I-94 and Livernois in Detroit.