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Contract Killings


Saturday, 21 January 2012

The G-Shyne Bloods are a Richmond-area subset of the Bloods national street gang.


Henrico County jury found a gang enforcer guilty on all counts for ordering a robbery that resulted in a murder, and recommended a sentence of life in prison plus 23 years. After deliberating about four hours Friday, the jury of six men and six women found Merwin Raheem Herbert "Poncho" White, 21, guilty of first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and two related firearm charges. Authorities say White ordered two other members of the G-Shyne Bloods to rob drug dealer Quondell Pringle because Pringle had been holding himself up falsely as a member of the gang. Authorities say that during the robbery, James B. Pryor shot and killed Pringle, 22. The G-Shyne Bloods are a Richmond-area subset of the Bloods national street gang. White stared impassively at the jury's forewoman as she announced the panel's recommended sentence, ending a three-day trial in Henrico Circuit Court. Formal sentencing was set for March 7. After a deputy placed White in handcuffs, he nodded solemnly to supporters in the courtroom gallery. One woman could be heard crying softly. Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor, who was elected in November, said the sentence shows that her office won't put up with gang violence and noted that the case was unusual because it involved a murder prosecution of a man who set the events in motion by giving an order but didn't pull the trigger. "This gang culture is something that's real," Taylor said. "Gangs in Henrico County are not tolerated, and law enforcement is committed 100 percent to the public and going after gang activity." Taylor praised Henrico investigators and prosecutors Toni M. Randall and Thomas L. Johnson Jr. for their handling of the case. After Taylor was elected, she removed several veteran Henrico prosecutors and hired Randall and Johnson from Richmond to serve as deputies in her new administration. After Friday's verdict, White's attorney declined to comment. Supporters of the defendant said it was unfair he was convicted of murder when he didn't carry out the shooting himself. "He's not a menace to society as everyone is trying to make him out to be," said White's sister, Roderica White, 20, adding that her brother is the father of four daughters and one son. Prosecutors said White ordered two fellow affiliates of the G-Shyne Bloods, Pryor and William D. Hargrove, to set Quondell Pringle up to be robbed last April. In his closing arguments Friday, Johnson described a meeting White had with Pryor and Hargrove to plan the robbery of Pringle by setting up a drug deal to buy marijuana from him. Johnson said White told Pryor and Hargrove, "If he bucks, then you know what to do." "Those were the last words given to James Pryor before he and William Hargrove left the apartment in Newbridge to complete their mission," Johnson said. Johnson said the gang's message to Pringle would be this: "You're going to be robbed. You're going to stop reppin' for G-Shyne." Pryor, a G-Shyne initiate, told associates that he shot Pringle after Pringle grabbed for a gun White had provided. White's attorney, William Linka, had urged the jury to disregard the testimony of prosecution witnesses who were deeply involved with the gang. One of the witnesses was granted immunity for her testimony, and two others admitted they expected some form of leniency on criminal charges they face. One of the men, Deshon Randolph, is facing a gang-participation charge for his role in a shooting of two other gang members in Powhatan County shortly after Pringle died. One of the victims was killed and the other critically wounded. Richmonder Joe Lewis Harris III, known as Savage and who drove the getaway car in the Pringle case, has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in the Powhatan double shooting.

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