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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 20, 2016

Six Gang Members Convicted of Four Murders and Multiple Robberies

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Three members of the Newport News street gang “Thug Relations,” were convicted by a federal jury of multiple murders and robberies, in addition to other crimes related to their criminal enterprise.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, “Thug Relations” was a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence, including five murders, numerous drug robberies and shootings.  The jury convicted the three defendants of racketeering conspiracy with special verdicts on four separate murders; the murder of Aaron Sumler, on July 5, 2007; Lafayette Bailey on Dec. 15, 2009; Lloyd Robinson on Jan. 9, 2010; and Dominque Wharton on March 16, 2010. 

The jury returned the verdict of Friday afternoon, also finding the Pridgen brothers guilty of VICAR murders, Hobbs Act robbery violations, felon in possession charges and use of a firearm resulting in murder. One of the felon in possession charges related to the murder of an innocent woman, Gale Perch, who was killed on Nov. 15, 2009, as she was in a car with the intended murder victim.

Name, Age, Hometown

Charges Convicted of

Sentencing Date

 

Eric Pridgen,

aka “Rabbit”, 33,

Newport News

Racketeering conspiracy, (including the murders of Lafayette Bailey, Lloyd Robinson and Dominque Wharton); multiple robberies; murder in aid of racketeering; use, carry, discharge of firearm resulting in murder, felon in possession of firearm and ammunition, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, and interference with commerce by robbery.

October 12

Hebert Pridgen, aka “Bok”, 29, Newport News

Racketeering conspiracy, (including the murders of Lafayette Bailey, and Lloyd Robinson, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery, murder in aid of racketeering, and, use, carry and discharge a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in murder.

October 13

Maurice McLain, aka “Mo”, 33, Newport News

Racketeering conspiracy, including the murder of Aaron Sumler.

October 12

Three other defendants, Douglas Ashby, Robbie Bowles and Antonio Johnson were charged in the same indictment, but pleaded guilty prior to trial.

Douglas Ashby, aka “Mance,” aka “Murder Mance,” and aka “Murder,” age 30, of Newport News, pleaded guilty on Nov. 12, 2015, to his participation in the racketeering conspiracy and admitted his involvement in the murders of Aaron Sumler and Lloyd Robinson.   On March 16, 2016, he was sentenced to over 34 years in prison.

Robbie Bowles, aka “Rob,” age 31, of Newport News, pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2015, to his participation in the racketeering conspiracy and admitted his involvement in the murder of Aaron Sumler. On May 3, 2016, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Antonio Johnson, age 30, of Newport News, pleaded guilty on Feb. 11, 2016, to using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence resulting in the murder of Lafayette Bailey. On May 11, 2016 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Both Eric and Herbert Pridgen face a mandatory life sentence following their convictions on the murder in aid of racketeering charges. Maurice Mclain faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison based on the special verdict form returned regarding the murder of Aaron Sumler.   The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia,  Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Office, and Richard Myers, Chief of Police, Newport News Police Department made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard J. Zlotnick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa R. McKeel and Brian J. Samuels, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Yvonne L. Garcia of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:14-cr-59.

Topic: 
Violent Crime
Updated June 21, 2016