Racketeering Judgment Against Massage Parlor Owner; Murder Conviction in 2012 Cold Case

Prison time for other defendants on murder, weapons, racketeering, drug, and sexual abuse charges

The operator of a criminal enterprise run out of several massage parlors he owned throughout the state, was found liable of 3 violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (R.I.C.O.) statute. The State alleged that Da Zhong Wang, 55, formerly of Smyrna, profited from prostitution by owning and operating a series of brothels in Middletown, Smyrna, Dover and Rehoboth from 2010 to 2015. After a number of community complaints, Delaware State Police conducted sting operations at locations in Middletown and Rehoboth. Those resulted in a conviction of Wang on a count of permitting prostitution and Wang’s license was revoked by the Division of Professional Regulation. DOJ attorneys filed a civil suit against Wang alleging racketeering, the first of its kind in Delaware involving human trafficking. A civil trial earlier this year resulted in a finding by a Superior Court judge this week that Wang is liable for 3 RICO violations. Wang faces up to $100,000 in civil penalties for each of the three violations and with the State intending to seek the maximum available penalty of $300,000. Deputy Attorneys General Oliver Cleary and Zoe Plerhoples of the DOJ Civil Division led the case for the State. The court decision with more detail can be found here.

Kevin Miller, a man from Bear already serving a prison sentence for a Drug Dealing conviction in 2015, will spend the rest of his life in prison after being found guilty of the 2012 fatal shooting of Jeremiah McDonald, 30, of Bear. In July 2012, New Castle County Police found McDonald in the Sparrow Run development, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. After a lengthy investigation by New Castle County Police, the case was turned over the Department’s Cold Case Homicide Unit. Reexamination of evidence and talking to witnesses led to the identification of Miller as the suspect. A Superior Court jury convicted Miller, 40, of Murder First Degree and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Following the jury verdict, a Superior Court judge convicted Miller of Possession of a Firearm by Person Prohibited. Deputy Attorneys General Joseph Grubb and Beth Savitz prosecuted the case. Detective Brian Shahan and Retired Sergeant Glenn Davis of the New Castle County Police Department’s Cold Case Homicide Unit led the investigation. Also assisting with the prosecution were DOJ social worker Courtney Cochran, paralegal Stacey Coupe, and trial management analyst Ted Griffin. A sentencing date has not been set.

A 60-year-old Claymont man whose drug-induced hallucinations led him to shoot his ex-wife pleaded guilty to her murder. Deputy Attorneys General Matthew Frawley and Samuel Kenney secured the plea from Joseph Slider. In November 2018, Joseph Slider and Mary Ellen Slider, 59, of Folsom, PA, were together in Joseph Slider’s Claymont apartment. The two were using PCP and hallucinations had Joseph Slider believing the television program they were watching was real, and that Mary Ellen Slider was a character on the program who killed his character’s mother. Joseph Slider took his .22 caliber revolver and shot Mary Ellen Slider multiple times, including twice in the head, then called 9-1-1 to report the shooting. Joseph Slider pleaded guilty to Murder Second Degree and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Detective Eugene Reid of the New Castle County Police served as chief investigating officer, with DOJ social worker Jenn Kutney and paralegal Stacey Coupe also working on the prosecution. Slider will be sentenced by a Superior Court judge on a date to be determined in 2020.

Four men with commanding roles in a large scale heroin trafficking organization have pleaded guilty in Superior Court. The pleas from Walter Battle, 30, Darnell Farrare, 34, Darryl Grayson, 33, and Victor Fairley, 33, all of Wilmington, stem from a lengthy investigation led by Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Justice during the summer of 2018. Assistance was provided by numerous local and federal law enforcement agencies. The investigation culminated in the recovery of more than two kilos of heroin and fentanyl. All of the defendants pleaded guilty to Criminal Racketeering and Drug Dealing Tier 4. A judge immediately sentenced Battle to 12½ years in prison, followed by 18 months of probation. Farrare, Grayson, and Fairley will be sentenced by a judge in February. Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Hurlock, Michael Cooksey, and Anna Currier prosecuted the cases with assistance from paralegals Meredith Parkinson and Julia Bacon.

A 26-year-old Laurel man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a child. Deputy Attorney General Casey L. Ewart secured the plea and sentence for Brandon Flood. In the spring of 2019, Flood initiated inappropriate sexual contact with a minor on more than one occasion. Flood pleaded guilty to Sexual Abuse by a Person in Position of Trust First Degree. A Superior Court judge sentenced Flood to 10 years in prison and the completion of the Transitions Sex Offender Program, followed by 1 year of either home confinement or work release, then 10 years of probation. Flood must also register as a Tier 3 sex offender. Detective Derek Cathell of the Delaware State Police Major Crimes Unit was the chief investigating officer, with DOJ social worker Carla Ennals and administrative specialist Angelique Waters part of the prosecution team.