- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2020

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A defendant in what federal prosecutors call a murder-for-hire case has lost a bid to be tried separately from an alleged former gang member.

Kendrick Johnson is one of five people awaiting trial on conspiracy and other charges in the 2012 death of Milton Womack - a would-be witness in a Medicare fraud case.

Court records show Johnson asked to have his case separated from that of co-defendant Stanton Guillory. He argued that jurors might be prejudiced against him if they see evidence of Guillory’s gang activity, according to court documents. A federal judge refused to separate the cases this week.

Johnson and Guillory were indicted in 2017 along with Johnson’s former father-in-law, Louis Age Jr., Age’s son, Louis Age III and another man in the alleged plot to kill Womack. Federal charges include “use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.” All five defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Womack, 60, was a former employee of Age Jr. in a health care business implicated in a $17 million fraud scheme. He was shot to death in New Orleans in July 2012.

Despite the witness death, Age Jr. was convicted months later and sentenced to 15 years.

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