- The Washington Times - Friday, December 15, 2006

Three men convicted for their roles in a violent drug gang that murdered more than two dozen people in the District were sentenced yesterday to life in prison without parole.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth gave life sentences to James Alfred, 33; Keith McGill, 38; and Deon Oliver, 29. He also sentenced Franklin Seegers, 51, to 40 years in prison.

The leaders of the gang, Kevin Gray and Rodney Moore, received multiple life sentences last year after jurors deadlocked on giving them the death penalty. There is no parole in the federal court system.

“He not only took my mother, he took my friend,” Shellie Dabney said of Seegers, who was convicted on charges of drug conspiracy and attempted murder.

Seegers was acquitted in the 1996 killing of Miss Dabney’s mother, Diane Luther, despite the testimony yesterday of family members who argued that Seegers was guilty.

Charles Shuler, who was paralyzed in a targeted hit exactly six years ago yesterday, told Judge Lamberth in a letter that “I feel as if I am half a man.”

“I watch my back wherever I go,” wrote Mr. Shuler, who did not attend the hearing. He was shot in the ear, back and spinal cord.

McGill and Oliver spoke before their sentencing.

Oliver said he was offered a plea deal for 15 years, but rejected it because he wasn’t guilty.

McGill railed against prosecutors, accusing them of building their case with bad information from cooperating witnesses, including Maurice Andrews, who received time served and probation in September; Jermaine Vick, who received 10 years; and Frank Howard, who was sentenced to eight years.

Andrews had faced 30 years to life in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but won leniency for cooperating with prosecutors. He has been in the federal witness protection program for five years.

McGill, a father of eight, who was convicted of shooting Mr. Shuler, told Judge Lamberth, “I don’t want to die in prison for something I didn’t do.”

“This is a death sentence,” he said. “It’s a slow, miserable death.”

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Arvind Lal said McGill shot Shuler for revenge on behalf of the Kevin Gray organization.

He said McGill’s motivations were “despicable” and that his conduct “warrants the life sentence.”

Three more defendants are awaiting sentencing in the case. Sentencing for Ronald Alfred, James Alfred’s brother, was postponed yesterday.

Prosecutors say the Gray organization, which authorities dubbed “Murder Inc.,” for more than 10 years supplied cocaine, heroine and marijuana throughout the District.

The gang was known for using violence to keep control of the city’s drug trade — to the extent that it was sought out by others who wanted rivals killed, according to authorities.

Some of the murders were committed to silence potential witnesses, prosecutors said.

Attorneys for some of the defendants also argued their clients were convicted on the basis of questionable testimony from cooperating witnesses trying to avoid lengthy sentences.

Judge Lamberth told McGill there was no evidence of misconduct by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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