Drug Kingpin Sentenced to 24 Life Sentences for Crimes Including Multiple Murders and Interstate Drug Trafficking
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 07, 2009|
NASHVILLE, TN—Edward M. Yarbrough, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced that Jamal Shakir, 34, of Los Angeles, was sentenced today to multiple life sentences after being convicted in May 2008, of multiple murders, being the “kingpin” of a violent interstate gang-based drug trafficking operation, money laundering, and obstruction of justice, after an eight-month trial in federal court. The United States had requested that the jury sentence Shakir to death, but the jury did not unanimously agree on a sentence as required to impose the death penalty. Senior United States District Judge John T. Nixon, who presided over the trial, sentenced Shakir today to 16 life sentences, to be followed by an additional nine consecutive life sentences for the murders and the other criminal conduct. Judge Nixon also imposed a forfeiture verdict of $3 million on each of three counts, totaling $9 million.
United States Attorney Edward Yarbrough again expressed his appreciation for the jurors who served on this lengthy trial, as well as for the victims’ families who supported the effort to bring Shakir to justice, and the investigators who worked on this lengthy investigation and trial. He also stated, “We pursued justice for each of the murder victims, and each of the victims of the other violent crimes this defendant committed as part of this interstate drug trafficking enterprise. Shakir’s murderous business helped bring gang members to this district and spread the deadly influence of gangs in this district. His large scale drug dealing destroyed families and weakened communities. He killed to obstruct justice, but failed to avoid conviction and these richly- deserved, multiple consecutive life sentences. He should never breathe the scent of freedom again.”
The jury’s verdict in the first phase of the trial found the defendant guilty of running a continuing criminal enterprise which distributed over 150 kilograms of cocaine as well as large amounts of crack cocaine and marijuana. Evidence at trial established that Shakir was a member of the Rollin’ 90s Crips based in Los Angeles, and that he recruited members of that street gang, as well as others, to be part of a violent drug trafficking business which operated in Los Angeles, Nashville, Memphis, and Oklahoma City, as well as other cities.
The jury found that nine murders were committed by the defendant, his co-conspirators, or as part of the defendant’s criminal enterprise between 1994 and 1997. The jury found that three of the murdered victims were killed to prevent them from cooperating with law enforcement, and that the defendant caused another person to travel in interstate commerce from Nashville to Oklahoma City to commit a crime of violence, which resulted in a double murder and the shooting of a 3-year-old child in both elbows. The child was found with the decomposing bodies of the murder victims in an Oklahoma City home about 1 ½ weeks after the murders were committed. According to the trial evidence, the child victim survived by drinking toilet water until she was found inside the home with the decomposing bodies of her pregnant mother and the mother’s boyfriend.
The nine murder victims are: Richard Chambers, who was killed in Cheatham County, Tennessee on August 29, 1994; Solomon Harris, who was killed in Los Angeles on September 29, 1995; Sharon Duran, who was killed in Los Angeles on December 13, 1995; Anthony Rogers, who was killed in Oklahoma City on July 20, 1996; Shannon Walker, who was killed in Los Angeles on October 3, 1996; Kenard Murry and Regina Suetopka, who were killed in Oklahoma City on January 23, 1997; Barney Moten, who was killed in Los Angeles on February 21, 1997; and Woody Pilcher, who was killed in Oklahoma City on August 2, 1997. Along with the murder convictions, the jury also found the defendant guilty of using juveniles in his drug trafficking business, using and carrying firearms during drug trafficking and violent crimes, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and other crimes. The jury also found that other victims were abducted, assaulted, and threatened as part of the defendant’s interstate criminal enterprise.
The trial is part of a multi-year Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation which has led to the federal prosecution of more than 40 defendants for drug trafficking, money laundering, firearms, and violent offenses. The cases are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Nashville. The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force program seeks to investigate and prosecute criminal organizations through joint investigations and information sharing between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Participating agencies in this investigation include the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Oklahoma City Police Department, and the Regional Organized Crime Information Center. Assistant United States Attorneys Sunny A.M. Koshy and Van S. Vincent prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.