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September 12, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LAST OF EIGHT FEDERAL DEFENDANTS SENTENCED TO OVER 20 YEARS FOR 2005 ATTEMPTED FIREBOMBING OF BALTIMORE COMMUNITY ACTIVIST
Case Demonstrates that Criminals Who Try to Intimidate
Law-Abiding Citizens Will Pay a Heavy Price
BALTIMORE, Maryland - Andre Wilkins, age 33, of Baltimore, was sentenced today to 241 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “Eight criminals have been exiled to serve sentences of up to 80 years in federal prison for trying to intimidate a woman who wanted to keep her neighborhood safe from drug dealers. The swift and lengthy sentences imposed on the perpetrators of the Harwood firebombing demonstrate that we will not tolerate witness intimidation. These defendants wish they could go back in time and make a better choice. Hopefully other criminals now will realize that attacking a witness brings on the coordinated wrath of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies."
"ATF continues to focus our resources on putting violent criminals in jail," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Gregory Gant. "We will work tirelessly to put those criminals who prey on innocent citizens in jail for a long time."
According to the statement of facts provided to the court at his guilty plea, on January 15, 2005 Wilkins met with Nakie Harris, age 30, Sedrick Bowman, age 26, Isaac Smith, age 27, Jackie Brewington, age 20, Richard Royal, age 22 and Terrence Smith, age 25, all of Baltimore to discuss firebombing a home in retaliation for the owner of that residence reporting drug activity to the police and in an effort to prevent the owner from continuing to report drug activity. Brewington and others made molotov cocktails by emptying beer bottles, filling them with gasoline and inserting rags soaked with gasoline to serve as “wicks.” The defendants gathered at the home, where Bowman, Brewington and Royal each threw one of the molotov cocktails at the rear of the residence, while Nakie Harris and Isaac Smith threw molotov cocktails at the front of the house. Meanwhile, Andre Wilkins directed Shakia Watkins, age 20, of Baltimore to call the Baltimore City “911” operator to report a fictitious crime in order to divert police attention away from the area of the firebombing. Wilkins, serving as the getaway driver, parked his car in an alley near the site and drove the defendants from the scene.
Terrence Smith, Nakie Harris and Richard Royal were convicted after trial. Smith was sentenced to 80 years in prison. Harris and Royal were both sentenced to 60 years in prison. Prior to trial, Jackie Brewington, Isaac Smith and Sedrick Bowman pled guilty to witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony. Isaac Smith was sentenced to 150 months in prison, Sedrick Bowman was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Jackie Brewington was sentenced to 212 months in prison. Shakia Watkins pled guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering and was sentenced to four years in prison.
United States Attorney Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Baltimore City Fire Department; Baltimore City Police Department; and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys A. David Copperthite and Kwame J. Manley, who prosecuted the case.
This page last modifiedSeptember 12, 2006