|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that Bernard Green, the leader of the Gangster Killer Bloods street gang in Trenton, was sentenced to prison today for ordering that gang members carry out a shooting in 2005 that caused the death of 22-year-old Sharee Voorhees, an innocent bystander who was caught in gunfire while sitting on her porch.
Green, 31, aka “Petey Black,” was sentenced to 36 years in state prison, including 22 years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier in Trenton. Green pleaded guilty on March 25 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. He was sentenced to 26 years on the manslaughter charge, including 22 years without parole under the No Early Release Act, and a consecutive sentence of 10 years on the racketeering charge.
Deputy Attorney General Daniel I. Bornstein prosecuted Green and his co-defendants and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
“The killing of Sharee Voorhees, a young bystander, shattered the community and brought home the heartbreaking senselessness of gang violence,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “While no resolution will set things right in this tragic case, this lengthy sentence serves justice and removes this violent gang leader from the community to prison, where he belongs.”
“The road that brought Green to justice was long, but it was also certain, thanks to the outstanding team of law enforcement professionals who investigated and prosecuted this high-stakes case,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The team convicted all 16 defendants and secured hundreds of years in prison sentences, cumulatively, for the slate of defendants.”
“Today’s sentencing is the final chapter of Bernard Green’s reign of terror in Trenton,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. “Operation Capital City is a prime example of the success that can be achieved through the collaborative efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement.”
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, 32, was one of the gang members who fired on the SUV. He pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Michael Cadlett and was sentenced on April 19 to 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.
Three defendants were sentenced to prison in May 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 prior shootings of Gangster Killer Bloods by Nine Trey Gangsters, including shootings that took place the day before on Passaic Street that wounded three Gangster Killer Bloods members. Washington was killed the same day as Voorhees. Anthony “Ace” Coleman, 28, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for being the triggerman in the killing of Washington. He was sentenced on May 14 to 20 years in prison including 17 years of parole ineligibility. Curtis “Rabbit” Hawkins, 26, and Juan “Cherokee” Robinson, 25, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for their roles in the slaying of Washington. Hawkins was sentenced on May 3 to 15 years in prison, including nearly 13 years of parole ineligibility, and Robinson was sentenced on May 14 to 12 years in prison, including 10 years of parole ineligibility.
On June 9, 2011, defendant Richard Lamar Jenkins, 28, 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.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman 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, who was lead detective, Detective Scott Caponi, Detective Edward Augustyn III, Detective Adam Mish, former Detective Donald Macciocca, Detective Timothy Savage, Detective Richard Aitken, Detective William Gonzalez, former Sgt. Keith Stopko, Lt. Richard J. Nocella, Chief of Detectives Paul Morris, Deputy Chief of Detectives Allan Buecker, retired Assistant Attorney General Mark Eliades, who was formerly chief of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and Deputy Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, Deputy Attorney General Christopher Romanyshyn, who is currently chief of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, 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.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman 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.