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Press Release

Poughkeepsie Gang Member Pleads Guilty To June 2020 Murder Of 16-Year-Old

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

 Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the guilty plea of ELIJAH BERMUDEZ, a/k/a “Quiet,” in connection with his criminal activities as a member of the violent gang Bully Hard Hunna Blood (“Bully Hard”), including his role as the shooter in the June 20, 2020, murder of 16-year-old bystander Frederick Wells, known to his friends and family as “Khabir.”  The murder arose out of a dispute between Bully Hard gang members and members of a rival set of Bloods called the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation (“Gorilla Stone”), which led to, three months later, a retaliatory September 21, 2020, broad daylight murder of a second minor victim, 15-year-old Jalani Jones, in Poughkeepsie.  BERMUDEZ pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Nelson S. Román.  

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “In a tragic three-month stretch in 2020, brutal gang violence between the Bully Hard and Gorilla Stone sets of the Bloods caused two senseless murders of minor victims in Poughkeepsie.  Previously, Gorilla Stone leader Brandon Soto was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in planning out and ordering the retaliatory September 21, 2020, murder of a 15-year-old.  Today, thanks to our law enforcement partners and the dedicated prosecutors of this Office, Elijah Bermudez has now admitted to an earlier, June 20, 2020, murder that prompted the retaliatory September 2020 murder.  Today’s plea is a reminder that this Office will relentlessly pursue any gangs who threaten the safety of New Yorkers.”

According to allegations in the Indictment and Information and statements made in public filings and public court proceedings:

From early 2020 to April 2022, BERMUDEZ was a member or associate of a racketeering enterprise known as Bully Hard, a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in, among other things, murder, robberies, narcotics trafficking, and fraud.  Bully Hard operated in New York City and Upstate New York, including in Poughkeepsie.  Members and associates of Bully Hard engaged in a series of violent disputes with rivals of Bully Hard, as well as those within Bully Hard who they deemed disloyal.  During these disputes, members and associates of Bully Hard committed murder, shootings, and assaults against their rivals and against fellow members of Bully Hard.  They also distributed heroin and marijuana.

On June 20, 2020, BERMUDEZ shot and killed 16-year-old bystander Frederick Wells in the vicinity of Charles Street in Poughkeepsie in furtherance of his membership in the Bully Hard racketeering enterprise.  Specifically, on the night of June 20, 2020, BERMUDEZ and another member of Bully Hard (“Bully Hard Member-1”) got into a physical fight with members of Gorilla Stone, a rival set of Bloods.  During the fight, Bully Hard Member-1 confronted a 17-year-old Gorilla Stone member (“Gorilla Stone Member-1”).  At the time, Gorilla Stone Member-1 was standing with Wells, who was Gorilla Stone Member-1’s friend from school, was not in a gang, and was a bystander to the altercation.  BERMUDEZ then stabbed Gorilla Stone Member-1, picked up Bully Hard Member-1’s gun, which had dropped to the ground, and shot Wells as Wells tried to run away.   Wells was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head. 

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BERMUDEZ, 31, of New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to possess ammunition after a felony conviction, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  BERMUDEZ is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Román on October 17, 2024.   

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force.  Mr. Williams also thanked the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department and Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in the case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys David R. Felton, Courtney L. Heavey, Shiva H. Logarajah, and Kevin T. Sullivan are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 9, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-240