Sean Sterling Exiled to 22 Years in Federal Prison for Using a Gun In Two Drug Related Murders

Case Against Hit Men Demonstrates Reason for Many Murders in Baltimore
and Impact of Coordinated and Proactive Law Enforcement Effort

February 19, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Sean Victor Sterling, age 31, of Parkville, Maryland, today to 22 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for two counts of using a gun in a drug trafficking crime resulting in death, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

“Crimes get solved when we treat every prosecution as a part of a bigger picture instead of a stand-alone case,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This case reveals a lot about why there are so many murders in Baltimore, but it also proves that we can track down the killers and hold them accountable through coordinated intelligence-gathering and proactive investigations.”

According to testimony at Sterling’s three week trial, from at least 1996 through December 2001, Jermaine Bell was the leader of a narcotics trafficking organization known as “R-N-G” which distributed heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana at multiple street-level shops in the vicinity of Reisterstown Road and Gwynn Falls Parkway in Baltimore City. The heroin was sold under a number of brand names, including “Black and White” and “Red and White.” During a dispute over drug territory, Bell issued contracts for the murder of the leader of a rival drug organization and his associates, including a $10,000 contract for Kenyatta Harris and a $25,000 contract for the murder of Angelo Stringfellow.

According to witness testimony, in response to those contracts, on May 28, 2001, Sterling drove several co-conspirators to locate Kenyatta Harris. They found him at a residence and followed him to Mondawmin Mall, where they waited for him to shop. Sterling and the other conspirators then followed Harris to the 1600 block of Thomas Avenue, where two coconspirators got out of the car and shot and killed Kenyatta Harris, using guns hidden in the sunroof of Sterling’s car.

Witnesses also testified that on June 26, 2001, Sterling again drove several coconspirators to look for Angelo Stringfellow so they could kill him. Using guns hidden in the sunroof of Sterling’s car, two members of the group shot Stringfellow after they found him sitting in a car near “Club Bunns” in the 600 block of West Lexington Street. Sterling drove the coconspirators away from the scene. Stringfellow died several hours later from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body. A woman standing outside the car was also shot and wounded.

According to trial testimony, Sterling had been involved in a shootout on June 17, 2001 at the New York Fried Chicken in the 3100 block of W. North Avenue. During that incident, Sterling fired multiple shots at another man in an unsuccessful effort to recover one of the Harris murder weapons, which the man had gained control of during a struggle with one of Sterling's associates. Police later recovered that gun, which was determined to be one of the Harris murder weapons. Ballistics analysis also determined that the gun used by Sterling during that incident was one of the guns used to kill Angelo Stringfellow nine days later.

Jermaine Bell, age 33, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the same charge in relation to the murder of Angelo Stringfellow on June 26, 2001 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison on December 23, 2008. The remaining five co-defendants have all pleaded guilty to their roles in murders related to the R-N-G drug organization.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office - Homicide Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Baltimore Police Department for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Weinstein and Tonya Kelly Kowitz, who prosecuted the case.



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