News and Press Releases

Violent Gang Member Gets 175 Months In Federal Prison

April 21, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., was sentenced in federal court on April 20, 2011, to 151 months in prison on his conviction of violating federal firearm laws and an additional 24 months for violating his prior federal firearms sentence, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose imposed the sentence on Dominick Tyree Howard, a/k/a Jason Damon Taylor, 27.

According to information presented to the court, Howard is a drug dealer who traded crack cocaine for a semiautomatic pistol on Oct. 17, 2009.  On Oct. 31, 2009,he was arrested with the pistol by Wilkinsburg Police as he was on his way home from celebrating his release from federal prison on a previous gun conviction. Howard was arrested by Allegheny County Probation officers on Nov. 17, 2009, but he escaped on foot in handcuffs. Federal and state arrest warrants were issued for Howard and the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force began conducting an investigation aimed at locating and arresting him.

On April 26, 2010, Howard was spotted in Pittsburgh and a foot chase ensued. The defendant refused to exit his hiding place in a small shed‑like "cubby hole" attached to an abandoned house, so Deputy United States Marshal Holtz entered in an effort to arrest him.  Howard took a loaded semiautomatic pistol out of his mouth and pointed it at the officers, saying that he would "take them with him."  Holtz's partner, United States Marshal Task Force Officer Wilkes, shot twice, striking Howard in the femur.  Howard's gun and ammunition were recovered by police as he was being taken for emergency surgery.

The Pittsburgh Police have identified Howard as a Kelly Street Crip gang member with tattoos that include a diapered baby holding a handgun captioned with the words "Been Thuggin'." Howard has been convicted of numerous offenses in 10 different cases in federal and state court. The convictions include charges for illegal firearm possession, homicide offenses, drug dealing. domestic assaults and stolen automobiles.  State court records reveal that Howard had previously fled the scene after driving a borrowed vehicle onto the sidewalk and killing a pedestrian. Howard told United States Marshals that his previous sentence was not significant and that he would "put it on his resume."

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Ambrose called Howard's lengthy criminal record "unbelievable" and noted that he had earned less than $700 in legitimate income in his entire life.

Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt, of the Violent Crime Section, prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for the investigation which lead to the prosecution of Howard, as well as the valuable assistance received from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Wilkinsburg Police Department and the United States Marshal's Service.

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