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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thug Relations Gang Members Sentenced to Life in Prison

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Two brothers who were members of the local street gang “Thug Relations” were sentenced today to life in prison, respectively, for their roles in multiple murders and robberies, in addition to other crimes related to their criminal enterprise.

Eric Pridgen, aka “Rabbit’, 33, and Herbert Pridgen, aka “Bok”, 29, both of Newport News, along with co-conspirator Maurice McClain, 33, also of Newport News, were convicted by a federal jury of four 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.

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.

Name, Age, Hometown

Charges Convicted of

Sentencing Information

 

Eric Pridgen, 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.

Sentenced today to four consecutive life sentences

Hebert Pridgen, 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.

Sentenced today to two consecutive life sentences

Maurice McLain, 33, Newport News

Racketeering conspiracy, including the murder of Aaron Sumler.

Sentencing February 16

Robbie Bowles, 31, Newport News

Pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy on Nov. 16, 2015. Admitted his participation in the racketeering conspiracy and his involvement in the murder of Aaron Sumler.

Sentenced on May 3, 2016, to 25 years

Antonio Johnson, 30, 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.

Sentenced on May 10, 2016, to 20 years

Douglas Ashby, 30, Newport News

Pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy on Nov. 12, 2015. Admitted his participation in the racketeering conspiracy and his involvement in the murders of Aaron Sumler and Lloyd Robinson.

Sentenced March 16, 2016, to 34 years

 

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

Eric and Herbert Pridgen faced 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; Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Richard Myers, Chief of Police, Newport News Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing 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 A. Garcia of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted 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: 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated January 26, 2017