Four Columbus Gang Members Plead Guilty to Murder
COLUMBUS, OH—Four Columbus men pleaded guilty to murder in connection to a racketeering case involving the organized criminal enterprise known as the Short North Posse.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Don Sorrano, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs, announced the pleas entered into today before U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Joseph Hill, 31, Christopher V. Wharton, 25, Troy A. Patterson, 24, and Ishmael Bowers, 33, each pleaded guilty to one count of murder in aid of racketeering. Hill also pleaded guilty to a second count of murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Wharton also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Each of the defendants faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.
The four were charged by a superseding indictment in October 2014. Twenty individuals total were indicted in the racketeering case with charges that included murders, attempted murders, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion and robbery.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the two-year long investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, Columbus Police, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott’s Office, and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s Office. Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx, Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt, Muskingum County Prosecutor D. Michael Haddox, Ross County Prosecutor Matthew S. Schmidt, law enforcement leaders from those counties, and officials of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys David DeVillers, Kevin Kelley and Brian Martinez, as well as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Lowe with Franklin County Prosecutor O’Brien’s Office, who are prosecuting the case.