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Press Release

Hill District Man Gets Max For Gun Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of the Hill District section of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been sentenced in federal court to 10 years incarceration and three years supervised release on his conviction of violating federal firearm laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Ernest Thomas Harris, a/k/a Pickle, a/k/a Michael Young, a/k/a Michael Ford, 42, was sentenced on Feb. 15, 2013, by United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.

In connection with the Feb. 15 sentencing, the court was advised that Harris was on video brandishing a loaded 40 S&W caliber semiautomatic Glock pistol at the Aces and Deuces bar located at 1400 Fifth Avenue on June 1, 2011. Harris had been previously convicted in multiple cases in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County and one case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The convictions were for charges including assault, stolen property, theft, drug dealing, threats and firearms. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year from possessing ammunition or a firearm.

Prior to imposing sentence, the defendant noted that his conviction on 34 previous charges "doesn't look good" and that he had been involved in multiple shootings in the past. He noted that he was a part of the "concrete Vietnam" of street life, resulting in him being shot several times and friends being shot or killed. He also noted that he had previously killed someone in "self-defense". Judge Fischer noted that the defendant had a significant criminal record and showed no convincing remorse for his past criminal behavior. The court determined that the maximum sentence of 10 years federal incarceration was warranted for the actions of Harris.

Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The gun in this matter was matched by the Allegheny County Crime lab to the one used during the April 6, 2011 murder of 19 year-old Stephon Green in the Hill District. Of the persons allegedly present at the scene of the murder, all have been indicted federally on firearms charges. In addition to Harris, Kedrin "Hoody" Turner faces a minimum of 15 years imprisonment as a result of his June 24, 2010 possession of a 9mm caliber firearm. Calvin "CK" Kane, III was sentenced to 37 months of federal imprisonment as a result of his Feb. 25, 2011, possession of a 45 Auto caliber firearm despite being subject to an active PFA (Protection From Abuse) court order as well as his Jan. 16, 2011 possession of a stolen 9mm caliber firearm. As a result of the federal, state and local investigation, Kane has been charged with the murder of Green and faces a March 11, 2013 trial before Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Phillip Ignelizi at case # 15977-2012.

In related matters, Bafata "B" Sullivan, the owner of the gun allegedly used by Kane to murder Green, faced federal firearms charges until he died of natural causes on May 9, 2012. Another Hill District felon, Carl "Baby Kong" Stitt, pleaded guilty to violating federal firearms laws and faces sentencing on April 26, 2013.

Individuals with information on the murder of Stephon Green are asked to call the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Homicide Detectives at 412-323-7161.

This case is being prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, a collaborative effort by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent, deter and prosecute gun crime.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Allegheny County Department of Labs and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Harris.

Updated July 14, 2015