Gang Leader Re-sentenced to 80 Years in Prison for January 15, 2005 Firebombing Attempt

Defendants Targeted Baltimore Woman Who
Tried to Stop Them from Selling Drugs in Her Neighborhood

August 22, 2008

BALTIMORE, Maryland - U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz re-sentenced Terrence Smith, age 27, today to 80 years in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Smith, along with co-defendants Nakie Harris, age 32 and Richard Royal, age 24, both of Baltimore, was convicted by a federal jury on December 13, 2005, of conspiracy to commit witness tampering, witness tampering by attempted murder, use of firearms in a crime of violence, using fire and explosives in a felony and making firearms, in connection with the January 15, 2005 arson of a residence located in the Harwood community of Baltimore, Maryland.

Smith had appealed his conviction and original sentence of 80 years in prison to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals based on several issues including his sentencing The Fourth Circuit found in favor of the government on all issues and remanded the case for re-sentencing to allow the Court to supplement the record.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “We want criminals to know that if they try to intimidate a witness, they will face the full force of state and federal law enforcement to bring about a swift prosecution and substantial punishment.”

ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge David L. McCain states, “We take the crime of witness tampering and intimidation very seriously. In an effort to reduce violent crime and keep our communities safe, we rely on citizens to come forward; and we will focus our investigations on those offenders who stand in their way.”

“I applaud the Court's ruling in this case.” said Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy. “I remain committed with U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to make the prosecution of witness intimidation cases a top priority. Citizens in Harwood and other communities should not live in fear or face retaliation for performing their civic duty.”

According to trial testimony, on January 15, 2005, Terrence Smith, along with co-defendants Harris, Royal, Jackie Brewington, age 22, Andre Wilkins, age 35, Isaac Smith, age 29, and Shakia Watkins, age 22, all of Baltimore, conspired to attempt to kill a person to prevent such person from communicating information to federal law enforcement about the commission and possible commission of drug trafficking. Smith, who gave the order for the firebombing, was the leader of the “Bloods” gang that planned the attack. The defendants met at his residence for planning. The defendants purchased gasoline and beer bottles, and made “Molotov Cocktails.” The defendants threw the “Molotov Cocktails” at the residence and used a getaway car to escape.

Nakie Harris and Richard Royal were both sentenced on February 3, 2006 to 60 years followed by 5 years and 3 years of supervised release, respectively. Prior to trial, Brewington, Andre Wilkins and Isaac Smith pled guilty to witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony and were sentenced to 212 months, 241 months and 150 months in prison, respectively. Shakia Watkins pled guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering and was sentenced to four years in prison.

An additional defendant, Sedrick Bowman, age 28, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

United States Attorney Rosenstein praised 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 for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys A. David Copperthite and Kwame J. Manley, who prosecuted the case.


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