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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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Four Men Sentenced to Prison Terms
In Crew Rivalry Case
- Crimes Include Multiple Shootings, Homicides -

     WASHINGTON – Four men have been sentenced in recent days to prison terms on charges stemming from crimes they committed in a violent rivalry between two street crews in Southeast Washington, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), announced today.

     The defendants were convicted in July 2012, following a two-month trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. They include Antonio Fortson, 21; Lamonte Henson 21; Marcellus McCray, 19, and Timothy Parker, 34.

     Fortson was sentenced today to 16 years and three months of incarceration on charges of manslaughter while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, and related gun offenses. Henson was sentenced on Oct. 23, 2012 to two years and eight months in prison for possession of a handgun. McCray was sentenced Oct. 24, 2012, to 19 years and seven months for manslaughter while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed, and related gun charges. Parker was sentenced Oct. 25, 2012 to 17 ½ years in prison for manslaughter while armed and gun charges.

     Two other men pled guilty to charges during the trial last summer. Kurtis Faison, 20, pled guilty to second-degree murder while armed, conspiracy to commit murder, obstruction of justice, and other offenses. Lamont Thomas, 21, pled guilty to assault with intent to kill and conspiracy to commit murder. Thomas was sentenced on Sept. 18, 2012, to four years in prison. Faison is awaiting sentencing in March 2013.

     Except for Henson, who is from Upper Marlboro, Md., and Fortson, who is from Capitol Heights, Md., all of the defendants are from Washington, D.C.

     The case centered on a series of shootings that occurred in the Benning Terrace neighborhood between individuals from the “Avenue,” an area in Benning Terrace west of 46th Street SE, and individuals from the “Circle,” a cul-de-sac in the 600 Block of 46th Place SE. Both crews dealt narcotics, possessed firearms, and sought to evade law enforcement. The defendants were part of the Circle crew.

     According to the government’s evidence, on April 10, 2010, Faison shot and killed Melvin White, 27, in the Circle, believing that Mr. White may have been assisting the Avenue crew. In April or early May, Fortson and Thomas observed other individuals they associated with the Avenue crew in their territory, and fired multiple gunshots at them. Further retaliatory shootings followed.

     On May 30, 2010, McCray and others armed themselves and went over to the Avenue and shot at individuals. Several minutes later, several Avenue crew members ran up into the Circle firing their weapons, where they encountered multiple Circle crew members who fired at them, including Parker, who was firing on the west side of the circle towards a hill located between two buildings.  Fortson and Henson were shooting from the east side of the circle both north and across to the hill.  McCray and other charged individuals were shooting from the southeast portion of the circle across to the hill as well. During the shooting, a bystander from the Circle, Antwan Buckner, 32, was shot and killed. Even after that shooting, the Circle crew members continued to arm themselves. 

     The Avenue crew members have been charged in a separate conspiracy and are set for trial in February 2013.  

     In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier praised those who worked on the case from the MPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including paralegals Fern Rhedrick and Sharon Newman; Thomas Royal and Paul Howell of Litigation Technology Support; Victim/Witness Advocate Marcey Rinker and the entire staff of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Pearlman, Laura Bach, and Nicholas Cannon, who prosecuted the case.





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