New Haven Gang Member Sentenced to More than 8 Years in Federal Prison
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DEJUAN WARD, also known as “Hot Boi,” 23, of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 97 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a violent street gang.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2016, the New Haven Police Department’s Shooting Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating numerous unsolved shootings that had occurred in New Haven and Hamden. Ballistic examination of recovered cartridge cases determined that three firearms were used in 18 shootings committed in or around New Haven in 2016. The investigation revealed that the firearms were possessed by members and associates of the Goodrich Street Boys (“GSB”), a New Haven street gang, and that GSB members also were involved in a number of other shootings in 2016, many of them retaliatory against rival gang members.
GSB members distributed heroin, cocaine and marijuana, and used social media to post pictures and videos of themselves with firearms, and used social media to threaten rivals, including individuals who might cooperate with law enforcement.
On August 3, 2017, a grand jury in New Haven returned a 13-count indictment charging Ward and five other GSB members with racketeering, attempted murder, firearm and narcotics trafficking offenses. The indictment alleged that, between September 2015 and May 2016, GSB members and associates were involved in six gang-related shootings that caused injuries to five individuals.
Ward was involved in at least one attempt to murder a rival gang member, and he regularly sent or posted pictures and videos of himself with firearms in an effort to intimidate rivals and show off for the group. On August 1, 2016, Ward posted a video of himself brandishing a revolver with an obliterated serial number. The firearm was subsequently found in a van after a triple homicide in Wallingford on December 30, 2016.
GSB members shot two individuals on April 3, 2016, on the belief that one of the shooting victims had been cooperating with police after a GSB shooting in 2014. In addition, GSB members shot at rival gang members and other individuals on February 6, 2016, in a densely populated residential area; March 13, 2016, during a heavily attended St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown New Haven; May 27, 2016, during which one individual was shot in the stomach and head and another was shot in the hand; and July 21, 2016, during which an innocent bystander was shot in the chest through her bedroom window.
Ward has been detained since January 2017. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Ward is the last of six GSB members to be sentenced. On October 24, 2019, Michael Via, also known as “Mike Live,” was sentenced to 78 months in prison; on October 30, 2019, Michael Belle, also known as “MB,” was sentenced to 87 months in prison; on October 31, 2019, Milton Westley, also known as “Reese,” was sentenced to 156 months in prison; on November 4, 2019, Clifford Brodie, also known as “Cliff G,” was sentenced to 168 months in prison, and on January 13, 2020, Sedale Pervis, also known as “Scope,” was sentenced to 144 months in prison.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that federal prisoners are required to serve at least 85 percent of their prison term and are not eligible for parole.
U.S. Attorney Durham further noted that federal law prohibits any retaliation against a federal witness. If persons retaliate against a federal witness “because of attendance at or testimony in a criminal case, the maximum term of imprisonment which may be imposed for the offense under this section shall be the higher of that otherwise provided by law or the maximum term that could have been imposed for any offense charged in that case.” Because the maximum term charged in the case was life imprisonment, anyone who tampers with a federal witness in this case faces life imprisonment.
This prosecution was part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program and Project Longevity. PSN is a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Longevity is a comprehensive initiative to reduce gun violence in Connecticut’s major cities. Through Project Longevity, community members and law enforcement directly engage with members of groups that are prone to commit violence and deliver a community message against violence, a law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence and an offer of help for those who want it.
This investigation was conducted by ATF and the New Haven Police Department. The FBI, Hamden Police Department and New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office provided critical assistance in the investigation.
An instrumental component of this investigation has been the work of the Connecticut State Crime Laboratory in utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to analyze ballistics evidence.
This matter was prosecuted in the District of Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter D. Markle, Rahul Kale and Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis.