Gang figure gets life in prison

Term for murder ends odyssey that put Blake in Nevada

May 31, 2007|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN REPORTER

A leader in the California Bloods gang was sentenced yesterday to spend the rest of his life in prison, ending a weeklong odyssey during which federal authorities pulled him out of jail and flew him across the country to answer a Nevada gun charge.

Shaidon "Don Papa" Blake made it only as far as Oklahoma City before he was returned to Baltimore after protests by city prosecutors, who noted he missed a sentencing hearing Tuesday. The hearing in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas was postponed until June 7.

As he entered the Baltimore Circuit Courtroom in handcuffs yesterday, Blake smiled and muttered to his fiancee that he had just come back from "a long road trip."

A city jury found Blake guilty in April in the 2006 killing of a 19-year-old Baltimore man. The victim, Terrance Randolph, was bound, bludgeoned and stabbed in the neck with a samurai sword in the basement of a West Baltimore rowhouse. His body was then burned.

Circuit Judge John N. Prevas, who sentenced Blake, called the murder so brutal that "it probably tops the chart for a generation."

Blake, addressing the court, denied having anything to do with the killing, saying he is being made a scapegoat for the city's rising gang problem.

Blake, 35, had told city homicide detectives that he was part of a gang called the Bounty Hunter Bloods and that he was sent to Baltimore to impose discipline and sell heroin, according to court testimony.

Blake's gang, known for going into gang-infested areas and separating real gang members from wannabes, has roots in Los Angeles's Nickerson Gardens housing project.

Police said they believe the Baltimore victim had mishandled money in a drug deal and gotten into a fight, a violation of orders from gang leaders. In a letter to The Sun, Blake denied being involved in the killing and said there are few real gang members in Baltimore.

Blake told Prevas in court that the city's gang situation is bigger than him. "No disrespect to the court, but this is a travesty of justice," he said.

Blake accused city leaders of using his story to justify big budgets to go after gangs. "I told ya'll where I was and that I didn't have nothing to do with it, period," he said.

Blake's fiancee, Lisa Smith, backed Blake's assertion that he is being made a scapegoat. The couple displayed little emotion during the 90-minute proceeding.

"He already knew what was going to happen, so he told me in advance. That's why he was calm and cool and I was calm and cool," she said in an interview. "We know he's the fall guy. He's not the leader. It's somebody up there bigger than him. He's a little fish, and they're trying to get the bigger fish."

Co-defendant Jirmile "Smiley" Harvey, 23, of the 1500 block of Lanvale St. was found guilty of first-degree murder and was also sentenced to life in prison yesterday by Prevas.

A third co-defendant, Janet "Lock and Load" Johnson of the 2000 block of Cecil Ave., was convicted of first-degree murder and is scheduled for sentencing tomorrow.

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