Crime, Police/Fire

Baltimore man sentenced to 25 years in prison for robbery, murder of drug dealer

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BALTIMORE, MD—A Baltimore man has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison on robbery and murder charges.

U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has sentenced George Fields, a/k/a “Chin,” 49, of Baltimore, to 25 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit a Hobbs Act robbery and for using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a weapon during and in relation to a crime of violence.

The sentence was announced by Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to their plea agreements, on September 29, 2020, Fields and co-defendants Joseph Williams and Deron Johnson conspired to rob a 16-year-old of drugs and drug proceeds. At around 4:30 a.m., Johnson and the victim pulled into the parking lot of a hotel in the 6500-block of Frankford Avenue (21206), where Williams had been staying for several months, selling drugs under a fictitious name. Johnson was working as a “hack” driver and gave the victim a ride to the hotel on the ruse that the victim would be selling drugs to Fields and Williams.

As detailed in the plea agreements, Fields and Williams approached Johnson’s van and Fields held out money as though he was ready to make a purchase. Fields and Williams then began robbing the victim while Johnson walked to the rear of the van and smoked. Fields admitted that he pinned the victim down in the front passenger seat of the van and went through his pockets. The victim struggled, flailing his arms and legs. Williams admitted that he then pulled out a handgun and fired a single shot into the victim’s chest at close range. The victim stumbled away from the van and collapsed on the ground. Johnson, Fields, and Williams then got into the van and drove away. A hotel surveillance camera captured the entire incident. The victim died later that day after being taken to the hospital. No drugs, money, or cell phone were recovered from the victim’s personal effects.

Later that morning, the conspirators returned to the hotel in Johnson’s van, while police were still processing the scene. Fields, Williams, and Johnson entered the hotel together. Police recognized the van from the hotel surveillance footage and towed the van and detained Johnson. A search warrant was executed on the van and law enforcement recovered a single bullet from the front row carpet. On October 1, 2020, Johnson’s phone was searched and was found to contain evidence of the plan to rob the victim, including text messages between Johnson and Williams, a record of phone calls between Johnson and the victim, a photograph of Johnson with Fields and Williams, and Fields’ contact information was in Johnson’s contacts.

Joseph Williams, a/k/a “Blue,” 33, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and up to life in prison for using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for the robbery conspiracy. Judge Russell has scheduled sentencing for Williams on July 7, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.

On May 24, 2023, co-defendant Deron Johnson, a/k/a “DJ,” 52, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and to committing the robbery. Johnson and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Johnson will be sentenced to at between 15 and 20 years in federal prison. Judge Russell has scheduled sentencing for Johnson on September 6, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

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