An East Baltimore man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday for ruling over a murderous branch of the Black Guerrilla Family street gang and ordering the execution of a police informant.
Gerald "Geezy" Johnson, 35, showed no emotion as a federal judge in Baltimore handed down the harshest possible penalty.
“He poses a grave danger,” U.S. District Judge James Bredar told the courtroom. “Perhaps the greatest danger of any defendant the court has ever sentenced.”
A woman scoffed from the gallery.
In a two-month trial, prosecutors described Johnson as the overlord of the ruthless East Baltimore gang. Jurors convicted him in January of racketeering, drug trafficking and murder in aid of racketeering.
He was convicted of ordering the killing of Moses Malone, a 22-year-old who had turned government witness in a case against another gang member.
“Mr. Malone was murdered on the instructions of Mr. Johnson, specifically because he had elected to cooperate with authorities,” Bredar told the court.
Malone was gunned down in May 2013 in East Baltimore.
Prosecutors say the gang committed seven murders, three shootings and more than 10 armed robberies while selling drugs on the streets. Their reign lasted for more than a decade as they intimidated witnesses, demanded paid dues, and violently guarded their turf around Greenmount Avenue in the Barclay neighborhood, prosecutors say.
“There’s really no case that could come before the court that could be more serious," Bredar said.
Eight other men have been convicted or pleaded guilty in the racketeering conspiracy.
The gang formed about a decade ago, with members, who lived around the 2200 block of Barclay St. and Guilford Avenue, calling themselves Young Guerrilla Family at first. In 2007, the crew took oaths to join the Black Guerrilla Family and re-emerged as the Greenmount Avenue Regime. They grew their influence through violence and drug dealing. Prosecutors say they sold crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana and oxycodone.
Johnson was acquitted previously by a Baltimore jury of murder, robbery and drug charges. He had been tried in 2015 along with dozens of other alleged gang members in Baltimore Circuit Court. The cases, however, fell apart. Charges against some defendants were dropped. Only a few were convicted and sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Then federal prosecutors re-charged the men, under mostly the same allegations.
After Johnson’s conviction, his attorney had asked for a sentence of 30 years. The gang boss spoke briefly in court, his words barely audible from the gallery.
“I appreciate whatever you do for me,” Johnson told the judge.
Then Bredar ordered him to life in prison and he was led away. Some women called out, “We love you!”