MSG Night Club owner, manager plead guilty for operating illegal club

The owner and manager of a dance club in Capitol Heights plead guilty Wednesday to violating the county's new law restricting unlicensed dance halls.

MSG Night Club owner Eric Pickens and manager Darryl Robinson both entered guilty pleas in Prince George's County district court. They received suspended jail sentences and probation.

They are two of the club's four operators cited in August for running the club without the right licenses after violence and a homicide led elected officials to close their operation.

Dawane Trent works at Freeman's Barber Shop next door to the club and said business has been a little better since the club closed last summer.

"A lot of people didn't want to come at certain hours because of the fact there was a crowd of people coming out," Trent said.

When 20-year-old Jasmine Banks was shot and killed outside MSG in August, police closed it doors using a new law called CB18 which cracks down on illegal dance clubs. The law had been passed just two weeks before the murder.

Police say shootings have gone down 30 percent in the area since they targeted the night club.

"This particular establishment has operated under three separate names by the same owners and it has had a long trail of violence and death associated with it," said State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. "We will not tolerate businesses operating in our county that cause death, destruction, or violence."

No arrests have been made in Banks' murder. Her family plans to file a lawsuit against the club's operators in the next two weeks, seeking as much as $5 million in damages on several counts, including wrongful death, according to attorney Stan Brown.