United States Seeks the Death Penalty In Connection with Thanksgiving 2006 Murder of Federal Witness John Dowery and Two Others
Baltimore, Maryland - The United States Attorney’s Office today filed notices stating that it will seek the death penalty in the prosecution of Melvin Gilbert, age 33 of Baltimore, for the murders of federal witness John Dowery and Shannon Jemmison; and in the prosecution of co-defendant James Dinkins, a/k/a “Miami,” age 35, also of Baltimore, for the murder of Shannon Jemmison and the murder of Michael Bryant, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. The indictment alleges that the murders were committed to protect “Special,” a Baltimore drug gang, and to retaliate against and intimidate potential witnesses who interfered with drug operations.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said, “The decision whether to seek the death penalty for a defendant accused of murder is made by the Attorney General of the United States after carefully considering the defendant’s background and the circumstances of the crime.”
Darron Goods, a/k/a “Moo-man,” age 23 and Tracy Love, a/k/a “Boo Boo,” age 23, both of Baltimore; Tamall Parker, a/k/a “Mo-Mo,” age 21, of Essex; and Randy McLean, Jr., a/k/a “Blade,” age 31, of Nottingham, Maryland, face a maximum penalty of life in prison for possession or use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Goods, Love and Parker also face life in prison for use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime resulting in death.
The indictment charges that from June 2002 to February 2007, Gilbert operated a drug distribution organization known as “Special” that sold heroin, cocaine and marijuana on the streets of Baltimore. The indictment further alleges that the defendants committed acts of violence to protect the drug organization and retaliate against and intimidate potential witnesses who interfered with drug operations.
For example, the indictment alleges that Gilbert knew that John Dowery was cooperating with law enforcement authorities in the federal investigation and prosecution of members of their drug distribution conspiracy. Gilbert and Goods allegedly shot and killed John Dowery on November 23, 2006 to prevent Dowery from testifying and providing information to federal law enforcement about drug trafficking by the members of “Special.” The indictment further alleges that Gilbert suspected that Shannon Jemmison was cooperating with law enforcement authorities in the federal investigation and prosecution of Howard Rice and Raeshio Rice, who were charged in February 2005 with violations of federal racketeering and narcotics laws. The indictment alleges that Gilbert directed Dinkins to kill Jemmison to prevent Jemmison from cooperating in the Rice prosecution. Jemmison was shot and killed on September 10, 2005.
The indictment also charges Dinkins with the November 10, 2005 shooting death of Michael Bryant and the non-fatal shooting of John Dowery on October 19, 2005.
When a defendant is charged in federal court with a crime potentially subject to the death penalty, the ultimate decision whether to seek the death penalty is made by the Attorney General of the United States. If the Attorney General decides in favor of seeking the death penalty, the United States Attorney files a notice identifying the factors that the government proposes to prove as justifying a sentence of death. The notices filed today specify the factors that may justify the death penalty for these two defendants.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. A person charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.