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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New York Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Three Murders

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Phillip Michael Bryant, 26, of Brooklyn, New York was sentenced today to life in prison for the murder of three people in aid of racketeering. Bryant pled to the murder of Sean McCracken on or about November 1, 2009, and the murder of Johnny Avery on March 19, 2010. Both murders were committed on Lincoln Park Housing Development property in Hampton.  In addition, Bryant waived venue in New York and pled guilty to the murder of Jeremy Kane, a New York State Corrections Officer, who was killed on June 28, 2009, outside of a beauty salon in Brooklyn, New York.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Royce E.Curtin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Norfolk Division and Thomas Townsend, Acting Chief of Hampton Police made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Robert G. Doumar.

“Phillip Bryant poisoned the Lincoln Park Towers community with the crack he dealt.  In protecting his drug “turf,” Bryant’s violence caused the death of multiple Hampton residents and left a shaken community in his wake," said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride.  "Bringing the full breadth of criminal justice resources to investigate and prosecute Bryant’s conduct, my office, along with our federal, state, and local a law enforcement partners, sought justice for the victims by advocating that Bryant receive the sentence imposed today-life in prison.”

            According to court records, the defendant and two others from New York were part of a criminal organization known as the “Miller Time Bloods,” a neighborhood set of the national gang known as “the Bloods.”  Bryant and the others travelled to Virginia to operate a drug trafficking business and were known locally as the “New York Boys.” The members and associates engaged in trafficking cocaine base, cocaine and marijuana brought from New York for sale in Lincoln Park. The alleged gang members protected the criminal enterprise and activities through the use of intimidation, violence and threats of violence. In the statement of facts filed at the time of his guilty plea, Bryant admitted to killing Sean McCracken after arguing with him over drug sales taking place outside of the Lincoln Park Tower.  After the murder Bryant attempted to dismember the body with an ax. When that proved unsuccessful, he and a co-defendant disposed of McCracken’s body by removing it from the apartment in a steamer trunk and placing it in a dumpster. The dumpster was transported to the Hampton landfill and, beginning in April, 2010, the FBI and Hampton Police conducted an exhaustive thirty-one day search of the landfill but McCracken’s body was never recovered. Johnny Avery was murdered by Bryant over a territorial drug dispute and what Bryant deemed a lack of respect. Avery was talking with two others outside of the Lincoln Park Tower when Bryant joined the conversation, pulled out a firearm, and shot Avery in the face. Despite Avery’s efforts to flee across the parking lot, he was shot multiple times and died of his injuries. Bryant admitted that both murders furthered his position in the “New York Boys,” and his reputation for violence.  Jeremy Kane, a correctional officer assigned to the Sing Sing correctional facility was murdered outside of a salon in Brooklyn, New York.  It is believed that Bryant murdered Kane in retaliation for Kane pressing charges against a gang member’s brother.   

            This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force and Hampton Police Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick and Lisa R. McKeel prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.
Updated March 18, 2015