|TRENTON - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that Bernard Green, the leader of the Gangster Killer Bloods street gang in Trenton, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated manslaughter for ordering that gang members carry out a shooting in 2005 that caused the death of 22-year-old Sharee Voorhees, who was caught in gunfire while out on her porch. Green also pleaded guilty to racketeering, admitting he directed the gang’s activity, including drug dealing and other shootings, during a period of intense violence in 2005 between his faction of the Bloods and rival gangs.
“Sharee Voorhees’ death shook the community, starkly illustrating the indiscriminate brutality of gang violence,” said Attorney General Chiesa. “What this guilty plea illustrates is the determination of a group of outstanding officers, investigators and prosecutors to make those responsible pay, especially the gang leader, Bernard Green, who oversaw this reign of terror in Trenton. I commend the dedication of all who worked on Operation Capital City.”
“Bernard Green is the final defendant to plead guilty out of 16 gang members indicted in this case,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Those who handled this investigation worked diligently to build a rock-solid case of racketeering, conspiracy and homicide. They then systematically secured guilty pleas carrying lengthy prison terms, taking down one defendant after another. This is a textbook example of effective investigation and prosecution by the Division of Criminal Justice, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Trenton Police Department and State Police.”
“This plea represents a successful end to a massive undertaking,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. “An investigation and prosecution of this scope and magnitude would not have been possible without the dedication of everyone involved.”
Green, 30, aka “Petey Black,” pleaded guilty late yesterday before Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier in Trenton to first-degree charges of aggravated manslaughter and racketeering. In pleading guilty, he admitted that he directed the criminal activities of the Gangster Killer Bloods as the gang’s leader and ordered the shooting that resulted in the death of Voorhees. Deputy Attorney General Daniel I. Bornstein prosecuted Green and the other defendants for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and took Green’s plea.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Green be sentenced to 26 years in state prison, including 22 years of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act, for the charge of aggravated manslaughter related to Voorhees, and a consecutive sentence of 10 years in prison on the racketeering charge. Judge Billmeier scheduled Green to be sentenced on May 31.
Fifteen gang members, including Green, were charged in a July 14, 2010 indictment that stemmed from “Operation Capital City,” an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Trenton Police Department and New Jersey State Police. A sixteenth defendant was subsequently added to the indictment. An initial investigation into the crimes charged moved in a new direction under the guidance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Violent Enterprise Source Targeting (VEST) initiative, in which all levels of law enforcement pursue joint strategies to dismantle criminal organizations.
The homicides and other acts of violence charged in the indictment occurred in 2005, when violence erupted between the Gangster Killer Bloods and two rival Bloods sets, the Nine Trey Gangsters and Sex Money Murder, as well as the Crips. Green directed the gang’s activities, including drug trafficking and violence involving assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns, which were used to defend the gang’s turf and settle scores with other gangs. The defendants conspired to intimidate victims and witnesses, and made threats against members of law enforcement.
Voorhees was killed when members of the Gangster Killer Bloods opened fire on an SUV on Monmouth Street in Trenton on Aug. 28, 2005. They believed that the SUV was occupied by a high-ranking member of the rival Nine Trey Gangsters, Joseph James, aka “Hell Rell.” It was the wrong car. The car was driven by Michael Cadlett, who had five passengers. One bullet struck Cadlett in the stomach, and another traveled down the street and hit Voorhees in the chest as she sat on her porch. Keith “Droop” Parker, 31, pleaded guilty this month (March 4) to the attempted murder of Michael Cadlett. He was one of the gang members who fired on the SUV. Parker faces a recommended sentence of 15 years in state prison, including nearly 13 years of parole ineligibility.
In addition to the slaying of Voorhees, two other homicides were charged in the indictment.
Two defendants pleaded guilty this month and a third pleaded guilty last month in the killing of Kareem Washington. Washington, 28, a member of the Nine Trey Gangsters, was fatally shot in the neck on Ellsworth Avenue on Aug. 28, 2005. He was shot in retaliation for shootings the day before on Passaic Street which wounded three Gangster Killer Bloods members. Washington was killed the same day as Voorhees. Last month (Feb. 15), Anthony Coleman, 28, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for being the triggerman in the killing of Washington. He faces a recommended sentence of 20 years in prison, including 17 years of parole ineligibility. This month (on March 4 and 8, respectively), Juan “Cherokee” Robinson, 25, and Curtis “Rabbit” Hawkins, 25, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for their roles in the slaying of Washington. Hawkins faces a recommended sentence of 15 years in prison, including nearly 13 years of parole ineligibility, and Robinson faces 12 years in prison, including 10 years of parole ineligibility.
On June 9, 2011, defendant Richard Lamar Jenkins, 26, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and conspiracy to commit murder in the slaying of Otis Jones, 26, who was shot in the head at Brunswick Avenue and Sanford Street in Trenton on June 20, 2005. Jones was shot because he showed disrespect to members of the Gangster Killer Bloods while trying to recover a gold necklace that had been stolen from him. In pleading guilty, Jenkins admitted that Green spoke to him twice about shooting Jones, and he agreed to carry out the shooting because Green was his commander in the gang. Jenkins said Green was with him in a car when they found Jones. Jenkins admitted that he shot Jones in the head. Jones had been loading his car to go fishing. Jenkins faces a recommended sentence of 15 years in prison, including nearly 13 years of parole ineligibility.
Attorney General Chiesa commended the dedicated efforts of all of the attorneys and investigators who have worked on the case, including:
For the Division of Criminal Justice and its Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, Deputy Attorney General Daniel I. Bornstein, Detective Cortney Lawrence, Detective Scott Caponi, Detective Edward Augustyn III, Detective Adam Mish, retired Detective Donald Macciocca, Detective Timothy Savage, Detective Richard Aitken, Detective William Gonzalez, Sgt. Keith Stopko, Lt. Richard J. Nocella, Chief of Detectives Paul Morris, Deputy Chief of Detectives Allan Buecker, Supervising Deputy Attorney General Mark Eliades, Chief of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, Deputy Bureau Chief DAG Christopher Romanyshyn and former Supervising Deputy Attorney General Andrew Butchko. Supervising Deputy Attorney General Paul H. Heinzel, Assistant Attorney General Carol M. Henderson, and Deputy Attorneys General Marie McGovern, Randy Miller and Steven Bennet also provided valuable assistance.
For the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Korngut, who is Chief of the Mercer County Homicide Unit, Lead Detective Brian Kiely, Chief William Straniero, Lt. Richard Frascella, Lt. Michael Novembre, Sgt. James Francis, Sgt. Tom Watters and retired Detective Frank Clayton. Assistant Prosecutors Kathleen Petrucci and Skylar Weissman also provided valuable assistance.
For the Trenton Police Department, Lt. Chris Doyle, Detective Frank Guido, Detective Gary Britton, retired Detective Albert DiNatale Jr., Detective J.E. McMillan Jr., Detective Wilfredo Rodriguez, Detective Nathan Bolognini, the Trenton Police Crime Scene Unit, Former Police Director Irving Bradley, and the many other members of the Trenton Police Department who made valuable contributions to the investigation.
For the New Jersey State Police: the Electronic Surveillance Unit; from the Organized Crime Control Central Bureau, Bureau Chief Lt. Rick Nuel, Lt. Jay Sullivan, Sgt. Jim Burnham, and Trooper Chris Sharpe; and from the Ballistics Unit, Trooper James Storey, Trooper Randy Toth, Lt. Robert Cowden, and Detective Sgt. First Class James Ryan.
For the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Senior Investigator Samuel E. Wise.
For the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent Steve Ortman.
Attorney General Chiesa also credited the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and members of the U.S. DEA VEST initiative for their valuable assistance, including the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the FBI, the U.S. Probation Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the U.S. Marshals Service, the New Jersey State Parole Board, the Ewing Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the New Jersey Probation Services Division.