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Saturday, 19 November 2011

Plea bargains reached in gang case


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What started out as nine defendants in a conspiracy case involving a local street gang, now has been whittled down to four as two more men took plea bargains this week. Salathiel Rodriguez Mathis pleaded guilty Friday to one count of street terrorism before Judge Michael Smith in San Bernardino Superior Court. He was sentenced to the aggravated term of three years in state prison. He received credit for 532 days already served, of which half were credits for good behavior. The offense counts as a strike. Prosecutors allege the defendants in the case, who are members or associates of the Pimps, Players, Hustlers and Gangsters street gang, were arrested on March 28 and March 29 on suspicion of conspiring at a San Bernardino apartment to kill two members of rival street gangs. The men made an agreement to kill the pair, collected weapons and went to their vehicles to carry out the plan, prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint filed in Superior Court. Mathis faced a possible sentence of life in state prison, if he had gone to trial was convicted, his lawyer James Gass said afterward. He described the case as "problematic." Other defense lawyers who are involved have said the prosecution's case hinges on a confidential informant. "When you're alleged to be a gang member, it's hard to get a fair shake," Gass said. Wilson accepted a plea bargain in his case Thursday. He pleaded guilty to attempted voluntary Advertisement manslaughter with a sentence enhancement for the personal use of a gun, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem. Wilson was sentenced to 12 years in state prison. Three other defendants - Edward Jermaine Lair, Henry Alfred Duffey and Jermaine Lee Brodie - will be sentenced Dec. 2 as part of plea bargains they accepted earlier. Selyem said much of the credit in the investigation and follow-up in the PPHG case should go to San Bernardino police officer John Plummer. "I was very, very satisfied that the five guys who plead, did," Selyem said after the proceedings. He said he is ready to go to trial on the remaining four men: Damon Dupree Coleman, Khaalis Batch Atkins, Albert Brodie and Willie Shante Brown.PPHG became well-known in San Bernardino after 13 members or associates were convicted in the 2005 shooting that killed 11-year-old Mynisha Crenshaw and wounded her older sister. The gang sought out members of a rival gang at a San Bernardino apartment complex, and the girls became unintended victims after guns were fired into their apartment.


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