City gang member gets 7 years in witness attack


April 08, 2006

A Baltimore gang member was sentenced yesterday to more than seven years in federal prison for witness intimidation because of his involvement in the pummeling of an informant in a jail cell they were sharing.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced 29-year-old Shawn Henry - a member of the North Avenue Boys - to 87 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised probation.

Henry and two other men, 26-year-old Dante Faulkner and 35-year-old Tyrell Fields, had pleaded guilty Feb. 13 to the witness retaliation.

On Feb. 7, 2005, the three gang members were set to go on trial in U.S. District Court. That evening, they changed their pleas to guilty and returned to federal custody. But they learned the identity of the informant during jury selection, according to federal prosecutors.

Government lawyers had announced the names of their witnesses, including the victim - a common disclosure in federal court before selecting a jury. After the pleas, according to prosecutors, Faulkner, Fields and Henry were brought by the U.S. marshal back to a state prison in Baltimore that regularly holds federal detainees.

The defendants were placed in the same group holding cell as the victim. They confronted him, and he denied planning to be a witness, court papers say. Faulkner, Fields and Henry knocked him to the floor, punching and kicking him in the face, head and body until they were stopped by correctional officers.

Faulkner and Fields have received five-year prison sentences for their roles in the attack. Faulkner is serving a 40-year sentence for other gang-related activities, Fields is serving a 25-year sentence and Henry is serving 30 years. Their sentences for witness retaliation are to be served consecutively with their other prison terms, Motz ruled.

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