Final Case Against OMB Gang Member Ends With Guilty Plea; All 7 Pled Guilty

Also, former Wilmington official pleads guilty to theft; possible life in prison for man convicted of raping a child

A guilty plea in Superior Court marks the end of the most recent case against Only My Brothers (OMB) gang members. Jabri Hunter, 20, of New Castle, pled guilty to Criminal Contempt for his having contact with another OMB member, Jeremy Tunnel, in May of 2018 in violation of a Court Order, along with a violation of probation for an Illegal Gang Participation conviction from 2017. A judge sentenced Hunter to 90 days prison followed by one year of probation with GPS monitoring. Hunter was also ordered to have no contact with OMB and STK (Shoot To Kill) gangs and social media. Hunter’s plea concludes the case against 7 OMB members indicted in early June of 2018 in response to, and in anticipation of, heightened gang violence in the City of Wilmington. Deputy Attorneys General Mark Denney, A.J. Roop and Allison Abessinio secured guilty pleas from all 7 defendants, and the case was investigated by Detective Danielle Farrell of the Wilmington Police Department, and criminal analyst William Moran of the ATF.

Former Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode pled guilty in relation to stealing from a group representing minority firefighters. The 45-year-old Goode of Wilmington pled guilty to Theft Greater Than $50,000 and felony Unlawful Use of a Payment Card. Goode admitted stealing more than $50,000 from Gallant Blazers, Inc. between January 2009 and October 2016. Goode was president of the organization at the time. Goode faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced by a Superior Court judge in March 2019. DOJ Special Investigators Robert Irwin and Walter Ferris investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Stephen McDonald and Thomas Brown. Paralegal Kelly Drzymalski, forensic accountant Clyde Hartman, and Special Investigator LaVincent Harris also assisted on the case.

A Superior Court jury convicted a 20-year-old Bear area man of sexually abusing a child, meaning he could face life in prison. Deputy Attorney General Amanda DiLiberto secured the verdict for Donovan Kent on 2 counts of Attempted Rape Second Degree, 3 counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact First Degree, and one count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. Over the course of 4 months beginning in the summer of 2017, Kent abused a family friend numerous times. A judge will sentence Kent in March 2019 to at least 45 years up to life in prison. DOJ social worker Claudia Melton, and paralegal Jayna Quillen assisted with the case.

Delaware and Atlantic Coast States Join Lawsuit to Stop Coastal Oil and Gas Surveying

Lawsuit Would Block Federal Government’s Allowance of Seismic Testing

Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn and the Attorneys General of eight other Atlantic coast states applied today to intervene in a lawsuit currently before the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina designed to stop the federal government’s efforts to allow private companies to survey the Atlantic Ocean floor for oil and gas. The State Attorneys General, led by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, allege that the National Marine Fishery Service’s allowance of oil and gas surveying violates the Marine Mammals Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.

“Not only will the planned oil and gas surveys harm marine mammals in violation of federal law,” said Attorney General Denn, “but they are another step toward allowing oil and gas drilling off the Delaware coast, something that would cause severe and irreparable harm to Delaware’s coastal and marine resources. We are grateful to Maryland’s Attorney General for leading this effort on behalf of states up and down the Atlantic coast.”

Noting that Maryland’s effort was a bi-partisan one, led by Attorney General Frosh (a Democrat) and supported by Governor Hogan (a Republican), Denn said “Delawareans across party lines are united in their steadfast opposition to oil and gas drilling off Delaware’s coast. Senate Bill 207, expressing the state’s opposition to such drilling, passed by overwhelming bi-partisan majorities in last year’s General Assembly.”

A copy of the filing can be found here.

2017 Shooting Could Mean Life in Prison

Other defendants face prison time for sexual abuse, arson, and weapons charges

An Ellendale man faces the possibility of life in prison after pleading guilty to killing one of his friends. Deputy Attorneys General Susan Schmidhauser and Stephen Welch secured the plea from 36-year-old Don Martinez. In July 2017, Martinez was in the parking lot of the Silver Lake Estates housing complex in Milford with his friend Kevin King when the two began to argue. Martinez shot King numerous times, killing him. Martinez pled guilty to Murder Second Degree, for burglary and aggravated menacing, faces 26 years to life in prison when sentenced by a Superior Court judge in February. Detectives John Horsman and Tim Maloney investigated the case for the Milford Police Department, and DOJ social worker Ester Powell and paralegal Sue Balik assisted with the prosecution.

A Middletown man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for committing numerous sex acts with a minor child over the course of a year. Joseph Jones, 30, pled guilty in August to Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. From 2016 through November 2017, Jones repeatedly abused a child in his care. A Superior Court judge sentenced Jones to 40 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 12 months of probation. Jones must also register as a Tier III sex offender. Deputy Attorney General Kelly Sheridan prosecuted the case with paralegal Jayna Quillen, social worker Lisa Rapko, and officers from the Middletown Police Department assisting in the investigation and prosecution.

A Superior Court jury convicted a Townsend man of setting his home on fire after an argument with his daughter. Deputy Attorney General Matthew Bloom secured the guilty verdict for 42-year-old Christopher Gregg. In November 2017, Gregg argued with one of his children, trashed her bedroom, and threw her belongings out of the window. Once the house was empty, Gregg set fire to the house and a barn about 100 feet away. The fires also damaged a truck parked nearby. The home, known as the Vandyke-Heath House, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The jury convicted Gregg of 2 counts of arson in the second degree and 1 count of arson in the third degree. Gregg faces up to 18 years in prison when sentenced by a Superior Court judge next year. The State Fire Marshal’s office investigated the fire. Deputy Attorney General Amanda DiLiberto, investigator Guillermo Santiago, social worker Courtney Cochran, and paralegal Lisa Loikith prepared and prosecuted the case.

A 32-year-old Wilmington man received a 12-year prison sentence in exchange for his plea on drug and weapons charges. Alanderer Willis pled guilty in Superior Court to Drug Dealing – Tier 4 cocaine, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a felony, and Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited. In April 2018, Wilmington Police had a warrant to search Willis’s car, and, when they attempted to Willis resisted and ran. Willis was subdued with a Taser and police found him with a loaded 9mm handgun, while a search of the car turned up cocaine. After the plea, a Superior Court judge immediately sentenced Willis, barred from having a gun because of previous drug and weapons convictions, to 12 years in prison, followed by 18 months of probation. Deputy Attorney General William Leonard prosecuted the case with assistance of paralegal Caitlin Lynam. Wilmington Police Department Detective Justin Wilkers was the chief investigating officer.

Man Sentenced to Life Plus 50 Years for Kidnapping, Raping, and Throwing Young Girl in Pond

Also, gang members and other defendants sentenced to prison time

A Superior Court judge sentenced Daniel Santucci, 25, of Elsmere, to life plus 50 years in prison for raping a small child then throwing her into a pond. In April 2017, Santucci lured a 4-year-old girl into his car at a community in Pike Creek. Santucci then sexually assaulted the child and threw her in the pond in Banning Park near Newport. The child was found walking in the area by a passing motorist. In August 2018, Santucci pled guilty to Attempted Murder First Degree, Kidnapping First Degree, and Rape Second Degree. The sentence is the maximum allowed by law in this case. Deputy Attorneys General Joseph Grubb and Jan van Amerongen prosecuted the case, with assistance from paralegal Stacey Coupe, social worker Claudia Melton, and support specialist Ted Griffin. Detectives Tom Purse and Dave DiNardo of the New Castle County Police Department were the Chief Investigating Officers.

Four members of the M-13 gang, a group operating in the area of the Pine Valley Apartments in New Castle, were sentenced to time in prison for multiple charges, illegal gang activity and weapons offenses. Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Hurlock and Michael Cooksey prosecuted the cases.

  • Darkpanah Barclay, 18, of New Castle, pled guilty in July to Illegal Gang Participation, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon (Firearm), and Resisting Arrest. A Superior Court judge sentenced Barclay to 18 months in prison, followed by 6 months of work release, then 2 years of probation.
  • Mayhew Watson, 19, of New Castle, pled guilty in July to Gang Participation, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, and Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited (juvenile adjudication) and sentenced by a Superior Court judge to 18 months in prison, followed by 6 months of home confinement, then 2 years of GPS monitored probation.
  • Tahkai Mayfield, 19, of New Castle, pled guilty in July to Gang Participation and Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon. The Court sentenced him to 1 year in prison, followed by 6 months of home confinement, then 2 years of probation.
  • Chester Myers, 21, of New Castle, pled guilty in September to Gang Participation and was also found in violation of probation earlier this year. Myers was sentenced to a total of 7 months in prison followed by 1 year of probation.

Deputy Attorney General Timothy Maguire secured a prison sentence for a Wilmington man convicted of drug and weapons charges. In September 2017, police stopped a car driven by Robert Potts, 35, for a light being out. During the stop, officers found a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a 9mm magazine loaded with live ammunition, and more than 70 bags of heroin. In September 2018, a Superior Court jury convicted Potts of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Possession of Ammunition by a Person Prohibited, Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Drug Dealing, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. A judge sentenced Potts, barred from having a gun because of previous drug convictions, to 12 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 2 years of probation.

A 57-year-old former hockey coach received a 2-year prison sentence for the sexual assault of 2 of his former juvenile players. From the late 1980s into the early 1990s, Walter Ferinden of Whiting, NJ, committed acts of sexual contact on numerous occasions. In June 2018, Ferinden pled guilty to 2 counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact Second Degree. A Superior Court judge sentenced Ferinden to 2 years in prison followed by 2 years of probation. Ferinden, who must also register as a Tier 2 sex offender, also pled guilty in New Jersey to sexual contact charges involving two additional victims, and faces an agreed upon 3 years of incarceration. Deputy Attorney General Jenna Milecki prosecuted the case with the assistance of social worker Lisa Rapko and paralegal Jayna Quillen.

Delaware Announces Settlement to Reform Debt Buying and Collection Practices

Attorney General Matt Denn announced today that Delaware joined 41 other states and the District of Columbia in reaching a settlement regarding debt collection practices with Encore Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Midland Funding, LLC, one of the nation’s largest debt buyers.

Debt buying involves buying and selling overdue debts from creditors and other account owners. Often purchased for pennies on the dollar, debt buyers seek to recover the full balance from consumers through collection attempts by phone and mail. Debt buyers, including Midland, also take consumers to court to collect the debts they purchase.

The settlement resolves the States’ investigation into Midland’s collection and litigation practices. The agreement settles claims that Midland signed and filed affidavits in state courts in large volumes without verifying the information printed in them, a practice commonly called robo-signing.

The settlement requires Midland to reform its affidavit signing and litigation practices. As a result of the investigation and settlement, when Midland files a lawsuit, it must have account documents about the debt before they file the case, including the amount of the debt, proof of an agreement, and an explanation about why any additional fees are justified.

As part of the settlement, Midland will completely eliminate or reduce the judgment balances of approximately 20 Delaware consumers for a value of $27,133 in cases where Midland used an affidavit against them in court. Midland will notify impacted consumers by mail of the balance reduction and no further action is necessary from the consumers.