- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal judge yesterday sentenced a gang leader to 80 years in prison for trying to intimidate a neighborhood anti-drug activist by firebombing her home.

The judge sentenced Terrence Smith, 24, of Baltimore, to 80 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

“This kind of violence can’t be tolerated,” U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz said at the sentencing.

Prosecutors said Smith was the leader of the Bloods gang that planned the January 2005 attack in Baltimore on Harwood Community Association President Edna McAbier, who repeatedly had told police about neighborhood drug deals.

Smith gave the order for the firebombing, and the defendants met at his home to plan the attack, prosecutors said. They made six Molotov cocktails with beer bottles and gasoline, threw them at Miss McAbier’s home and fled in a car.

Miss McAbier was not hurt, and the fire did only minor damage to her home.

A jury convicted Smith and two of his seven co-defendants in December of conspiracy to commit witness tampering, witness tampering by attempted murder, the use of firearms in a crime of violence, using fire and explosives in a felony and making firearms.

“We want criminals to know that if they try to intimidate a witness, they will face the full force of state and federal law enforcement to bring about a swift prosecution and substantial punishment,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.

The crime stirred memories of a 2002 arson that killed a Baltimore family of seven. That fire was started by a career drug dealer who was angry that the family had complained to police about drug activity.

Two of Smith’s co-defendants, Nakie Harris, 30, and Richard Royal, 21, were sentenced this month to 60 years in prison each.

Three other men — Jackie Brewington, 19, Andre Wilkins, 32, and Isaac Smith, 26 — pleaded guilty to witness tampering and use of fire and explosives to commit a felony. They face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Shakia Watkins, 19, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering and faces five years in prison.

Their sentencing hearings have not been scheduled.

An additional defendant, Cedrick Bowman, 24, was indicted in December.

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