Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu
Four men, all from Washington, D.C., were sentenced Friday to prison terms on charges stemming from various gang-related crimes, including beatings, attempted robberies, and obstructing justice, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
The defendants were among six men who pled guilty in February 2013, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to actively participating in a crew called “Show Out” that committed crimes in areas including Chinatown, Metro Center, NoMa, Bloomingdale, and Woodley Park. Since at least Jan. 1, 2012, the crew’s members canvassed the areas looking for targets of opportunity and teamed up to assault their victims, rob them of items of value, or both. They pursued people they thought were vulnerable to their surprise attacks, including people traveling alone to or from work, homeless people, and people distracted by their cellphones.
The crew also was accused of engaging in “flash mob” style robberies at drug stores, convenience stores, and gas stations, in which multiple members flooded in to the business at the same time, overwhelming and intimidating the staff, and stealing items.
The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz sentenced the defendants this morning. They included Quayshawn L. Leggett, 20, who allegedly had a senior position in the group; James D. Matheny, 19; Ricardo J. Williams, 20, and Travis L. Morris, 21.
Leggett was sentenced to nine years in prison on one count each of aggravated assault, attempted robbery, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. Matheny also was sentenced to a nine-year prison term, on one count each of aggravated assault, obstructing justice, threats to do bodily harm, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. Williams was sentenced to an 8 ½-year prison term on one count each of aggravated assault, attempted robbery, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. Morris was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison one count each of aggravated assault and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang.
Upon completion of their prison terms, all four of the defendants will be placed on three years of supervised release.
Two other leaders of the “Show Out” crew, both of Washington, D.C., are scheduled to be sentenced May 24, 2013. They include Bernard Trowell, also known as “McLovin,” 19, described in an indictment as “the self-styled president” of the group, and Deandre M. Williams, 19. Both pled guilty in February 2013 to charges stemming from their roles in the crimes. “The Show Out crew ambushed vulnerable victims in some of our city’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “Today’s sentences hold four members of the crew accountable for their roles in a series of beatings, robberies, and flash mobs. These prison terms are just punishment for the lawless behavior of these young people.”
“This pack of thugs roamed around the city and preyed upon people whom they perceived to be vulnerable,” said Police Chief Lanier. “The level of violence was unjustifiable. I commend the officers and detectives from the First District, the members of the Intelligence Division and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in bringing these criminals to justice.”
As part of their plea agreements, the defendants, along with Trowell and Deandre Williams, admitted participating in various crimes, including these incidents:
Continues after the jump.
-June 5, 2012: Beating in the 600 block of H Street NW
All six defendants who pled guilty in February admitted taking part in the beating of a man near a bus stop in the 600 block of H Street NW. As the victim approached the bus stop, at about 3:20 a.m., he was surrounded and assaulted. Deandre Williams and a juvenile member of Show Out knocked the man to the ground, and then multiple members punched, kicked and stomped him. Deandre Williams and others stole items from the victim while he was on the ground, including his cellphone and bank card. The victim was knocked unconscious for several minutes. He eventually found a police officer and received medical attention. He was treated later for a concussion, broken nose, and bruises to the head, face and torso.
–June 5, 2012: Beating near 2d and K Streets NW
Crew members targeted a second victim at about 3:45 a.m. The victim was walking to work near 2d and K Streets NW when Deandre Williams approached him and struck him repeatedly about the face and head with his fists. During this attack, Deandre Williams shouted racial slurs at the victim. The victim received medical treatment on the scene and later was given stitches to close a bleeding laceration to the side of his face. Deandre Williams pled guilty to assault with significant bodily injury for his role in this attack.
-June 7, 2012: “Flash Mob” near North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue
Ricardo Williams and several others approached a gas station and convenience store at about 4:20 a.m., in the area of North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue. After the station attendant opened the locked door, Williams and the others overwhelmed and intimidated him. They grabbed food or beverage items and fled without paying. Ricardo Williams pled guilty to attempted robbery for his participation in this attack.
-June 19, 2012: Obstruction of Justice
During the evening hours, Deandre Williams and others approached a former associate at a bus stop in Chinatown and threatened to kill him if he talked to police. Deandre Williams pled guilty to obstruction of justice for this incident.
-June 21, 2012: Attack at Metro Center
Leggett and others were on the lower platform at the Metro Center Metro station when they confronted a man at about 5:20 a.m. Leggett demanded money and threatened the victim. The victim did not give him any money, and one of the individuals punched him in the face, knocking him down. Leggett pled guilty to attempted robbery for his role in this attack.
-July 31-Aug. 1, 2012: Threats to Do Bodily Harm, Obstruction of Justice
Matheny posted audio recordings to his Facebook page, in which he is rapping. In three of them, he accused a Show Out member of “snitching.” The songs carried a threat that this member would be shot “on sight.” Matheny pled guilty to threats to do bodily harm and obstruction of justice for these threats.
As part of the plea agreement, the government dismissed charges against the defendants involving four other violent crimes that were charged in the indictment. The indictment covered a total of 10 violent crimes, nine of which occurred during a three-week period in June 2012.
Two other defendants in the case earlier pled guilty to charges, and a third adult member of the crew is still being sought. The investigation into other members of the crew is ongoing.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen and Chief Lanier commended the work of the officers, detectives and crime scene technicians who worked on the case for the MPD. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Metro Transit Police Department, which assisted in the investigation. Additionally, they thanked local businesses for their assistance in the investigation, including Transwestern, a property management company, and employees of Securitas, a private security firm. Finally, they praised the work of those who are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Bednar and Clare Pozos, who are prosecuting the matter.