Six men, all from Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to 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 admitted actively participating in a crew called “Show Out” that committed crimes in the Chinatown, U Street and Adams Morgan areas. 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. The crew was also 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 guilty pleas took place in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz scheduled sentencing for May 10, 2013. All six defendants remain in custody pending sentencing.
Those pleading guilty included Bernard Trowell, also known as “McLovin,”19, described in an indictment as “the self-styled president” of the group, and two others who allegedly had senior positions, identified as Deandre M. Williams, 19, and Quayshawn L. Leggett, 20. Also pleading guilty were James D. Matheny, 19; Ricardo J. Williams, 20, and Travis L. Morris, 20.
Trowell pled guilty to one count each of conspiracy, aggravated assault, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. He faces a statutory maximum of 30 years in prison for the crimes. Deandre Williams pled guilty to one count each of aggravated assault, assault with significant bodily injury, obstructing justice, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. He faces a statutory maximum of 48 years in prison. Leggett pled guilty to one count each of aggravated assault, attempted robbery, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. He faces a statutory maximum of 18 years in prison.
Matheny pled guilty to one count each of aggravated assault, obstructing justice, threats to do bodily harm, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. He faces a statutory maximum of 45 ½ years in prison. Ricardo Williams pled guilty to one count each of aggravated assault, attempted robbery, and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. He faces a statutory maximum of 18 years in prison. Morris pled guilty to one count each of aggravated assault and committing a crime while affiliated with a criminal street gang. He faces a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison.
Two other defendants in the case earlier pled guilty to charges, and a third adult member of the crew is being sought. The investigation into other members of the crew is ongoing.
“Today’s guilty pleas by six members of the Show Out Crew should serve as a warning to young people tempted by the lure of gang life,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “This violent group took pleasure in targeting innocent victims for beatings and robberies. As a result of the decision to participate in this crew violence, each of these criminals – none older than twenty –will now spend many years behind bars. This prosecution demonstrates our clear resolve to crush the gangs that terrorize our city.”
“The gratuitous, unprovoked robberies and assaults perpetrated by this gang were motivated primarily by the gang’s desire to establish credibility and notoriety, which was promoted by the gang through social media,” said Chief Lanier. “They preyed upon individuals whom they perceived to be vulnerable. I applaud the officers and detectives from the First District, the members of the Intelligence Division and our partners at the US Attorney’s Office for getting these thugs off our streets.”
As part of their plea agreements, the defendants admitted participating in various crimes, including these incidents:
-June 5, 2012: Beating in the 600 block of H Street NW
All six defendants 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. 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 him that he would be harmed 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.
In announcing the guilty pleas, 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.