Woman gets 10 years in killing

man's charges dropped

March 14, 2006|By JULIE BYKOWICZ | JULIE BYKOWICZ,SUN REPORTER

Charges were dropped yesterday against the Baltimore gang leader who police believe ordered a hit on a fellow member he suspected of being a "snitch," and the teenage woman who carried out the fatal shooting was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The gang leader, Terrance A. Smith, 24, already is serving 80 years in federal prison for ordering the firebombing of a North Baltimore community leader's rowhouse. He was sentenced last month. The charges dropped yesterday included first-degree murder.

Police said that Smith also ordered Coketa S. Diggins, 19, to kill Reshawn Myers, 19, whom he believed was "too much of a talker," Assistant State's Attorney Paul O'Connor said yesterday in a hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court.

All three, according to prosecutors, were part of the Bloods gang. Myers' body was found five days after the Jan. 15, 2005, firebombing of Harwood Community Association President Edna McAbier's home.

Prosecutors said Myers was killed because other gang members were afraid that she would talk to police about gang activities - though it was not clear whether that included the arson.

Diggins pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime and, under a plea agreement, was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but 10 suspended for the killing and a concurrent five years without parole for the firearm charge.

Circuit Judge Alfred Nance ordered Diggins to serve five years of supervised probation after her release; the probation includes an array of stipulations, such as no contact with gang members.

Prosecutors said their decision to drop the charges against Smith was based on problems with witnesses. Two gave inconsistent statements about Smith's involvement in Myers' death and one witness is facing her own set of felony charges in a child abuse case.

Myers' father, Gregory Myers, seemed satisfied with the court outcome, saying softly, "Thank you, Jesus," and "You can rest now, baby," as Nance handed down Diggins' sentence. Later, he hugged O'Connor in the hallway.

Diggins' attorney, Jane McGough, called her client a "bright young woman" who was pleading guilty "to take responsibility for her actions." Diggins chose not to address the judge.

Myers' body was found Jan. 20, 2005, by a man walking his dog in the 5700 block of Chinquapin Parkway. Myers had been shot once in forehead, O'Connor said. He said that, had the matter gone to trial, he would have called two other women affiliated with the Bloods gang to testify against Diggins.

But Nance said in court that he understood the guilty plea arose because of problems with the state's case.

Myers' father was emotional throughout the court hearing. He tearfully addressed the judge, saying "they took my heart." He acknowledged that his daughter had problems, but he said she was "everything you wanted in a daughter."

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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