Two more men accused in a crackdown on alleged members of the Hilltop Crips street gang have been sentenced to prison while a third man arrested in the crackdown had his case dismissed.
Deondre L. Posey, 23, was sentenced Friday to 33 years and four months in prison for unlawful possession of a firearm and for shooting a man Sept. 9, 2009. The wounded man was left paralyzed from the waist down. Posey was convicted in an Oct. 6 trial.
Raphiel Justice IV, 31, who had pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for his part in a melee at a Denny’s restaurant Dec. 6, 2008, was sentenced Friday to 12 months and a day in prison.
The rejection of a search warrant led to the dismissal of a federal case against the third man, James R. Henry Jr., 30, who had been charged as an “armed career criminal” with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers found a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol in Henry’s Tacoma home during a search in February. He was forbidden from possessing a gun after being convicted of four felonies.
Earlier this month, Henry’s attorney, Tom Cena, challenged the search warrant used to find the evidence against Henry.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton agreed that the search warrant and the declaration in support of it were inadequate, Cena said. Because the warrant was invalid, Leighton suppressed evidence from the search.
The judge dismissed the count against Henry on Thursday, and he was released from custody.
Pierce County prosecutors are weighing options against Henry. Henry originally faced one count of criminal conspiracy in Superior Court, but the charge was dismissed and his case was transferred to federal court.
“It is our goal to hold all of these gang members and associates accountable,” Deputy Prosecutor Phil Sorensen said Friday.
In Posey’s case, Deputy Prosecutor Steve Greer said he asked for the high-end sentence of 39 years, three months in prison. Fellow Crips were angry with the man Posey shot because he had made derogatory remarks about them and might have been dealing drugs on their turf, according to court records.
As for Justice, Greer said he wasn’t a Crips member but joined the fight at the Denny’s at 8614 S. Hosmer St. after he saw his brother fighting . The fight was caught on video.
“We had eight or 10 guys involved,” Greer said. “We couldn’t exclude anyone.”