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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Delaware

Friday, October 5, 2018

Six Men Indicted for Stalking, Kidnapping that Resulted in a Death, and Grave Injury to Six-Year-Old

Ongoing feud led to day of violence on June 6, 2017

WILMINGTON, Del.  – David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging six Delaware men with violent acts that led to the death of an individual identified in the Indictment as “Victim 1,” and grave injury to a Wilmington six-year-old last June.

According to the Indictment, the defendants— Ryan Bacon, Dontae Sykes, Dion Oliver, Maurice Cooper, Michael Pritchett, and Teres Tinnin—stalked an enemy of theirs from May 6 onward.  On June 6, several members of the group waited outside their target’s apartment.  They ultimately followed and kidnapped Victim 1, the target’s partner, and used her phone to lure the target out of the apartment.  They shot at the target, missing him, with Victim 1 in the trunk of one of their cars.  The group then transferred Victim 1 from the trunk of one car to another, and two defendants—Bacon and Sykes—drove Victim 1 to Elkton, Maryland, where Victim 1 was shot five times and killed.

The Indictment describes that the group subsequently realized their target was still alive and proceeded to Wilmington.  Three of the defendants—Pritchett, Oliver, and Cooper—followed their target into Wilmington, located him near the corner of 6th and Spruce Streets, and shot at him multiple times, again missing him.  One shot hit a six-year-old, who was in a nearby car, in the head.  The child remains permanently and seriously injured.

If convicted of kidnapping as charged in the Indictment, the defendants face a mandatory term of life imprisonment.  If convicted of stalking, the defendants face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Weiss said, “This case is the product of an unprecedented degree of cooperation between the USAO, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, and federal, state, and local law enforcement.  The teamwork exhibited by the prosecutors and law enforcement agencies that led to this Indictment is emblematic of the U.S. Department of Justice’s PSN Initiative.

One year ago, Attorney General Sessions recommitted the Department of Justice to Project Safe Neighborhoods, PSN, and directed United States Attorneys to work with federal, state and local law enforcement and community partners to reduce violent crime and to make our communities safer. These partnerships lie at the heart of PSN. When effective, they allow law enforcement to formulate a comprehensive, coordinated approach to violent crime, targeting the most violent offenders and the most dangerous communities. 

In 2018, our PSN efforts in Delaware have focused in Wilmington, in particular West Center City. Crime throughout the city of Wilmington is down in virtually each key violent crime metric.

Shootings are down by 60%. Shooting homicides are down by 44%. Rape is down 75%, Robbery is down 11%, and the homicide-clearance rate is about 62%, up from a clearance rate of 11% several years ago. In West Center City, we have achieved similar results.  For example, last year at this time there were 20 shooting victims in West Center City.  This year, there have been four.”

Criminal indictments are only allegations and are not evidence of guilt.  Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant United States Attorney Shannon Hanson, Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Mackler, Adrienne Dedjinou, and Maureen McCartney, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Mark Denney.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Updated October 11, 2018