SANTA ANA – LAWFUEL – Law News + Law Jobs – A federal jury that convicted two leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang of ordering a white-on-black race war that led to the death of two inmates in a Pennsylvania penitentiary today said it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether the defendants should be sentenced to death.
Concluding a six-month trial, the jury deadlocked on the question of whether Barry Byron Mills and Tyler Davis Bingham should receive the death penalty. Because the jury did not unanimously reach a decision on the death penalty questions, United States District Judge David O. Carter will sentence both defendants to life without parole. Judge Carter is scheduled to formally sentence Mills and Bingham on November 13, 2006.
Mills and Bingham were found guilty of a host of racketeering and murder charges on July 28. The penalty phase of the trial began on August 28.
Two other top members of the AB’s federal faction also were convicted in July. Christopher Overton Gibson and Edgar Wesley Hevle were eligible for the death penalty, but the government decided not to seek their execution. Judge Carter is scheduled to sentence Gibson and Hevle on October 23, and they are expected to receive sentences of life without parole in federal prison.
Today’s announcement by the jury ends the first trial stemming from the indictment of 40 members and associates of the AB. A 110-page indictment unsealed in October 2002 contains racketeering charges that allege a series of murders and violent attacks designed to preserve the power of the white, prison-based criminal enterprise.
The 10-count indictment alleges that members of the AB committed 16 murders and 16 attempted murders, as well as additional conspiracies to commit murder and solicitation to murder. These crimes allegedly were committed on behalf of the AB to promote the gang and its members and to control drug trafficking, gambling and extortion in the prison systems.
The AB, founded by white prison inmates at San Quentin State Prison in Northern California in 1964 and made up of no more than 100 core members, is active in the California and federal prison systems, where the gang engages in drug distribution and other illegal conduct. The gang over the years has also worked to increase its influence outside prison walls. The AB enforces its rules by, among other tactics, murdering and assaulting those who are considered to be a threat to the organization, including those who act as informants for law enforcement officials.
So far in the case, 18 defendants have pleaded guilty, two defendants died, the government dismissed charges against two defendants, and, now, four defendants have been convicted at trial. The remaining 14 defendants are pending trial.
During the trial that concluded today, jurors heard evidence concerning the structure of the AB and the various acts committed by members. The totality of the evidence illuminated an organization trying to expand its power and to become, in Mills’ words, a “viable and productive criminal organization.”
There are two AB factions comprised of those in federal custody and those who are in the California prison system. In 1980, the federal faction of the AB formed a three-man “Commission” to oversee AB members in federal prisons. Mills and Bingham were members of the Commission. In the California prison system, the AB formed a California Commission and a Council in 1982. Among other things, the commissions have to approve the murder or assault of an AB member if he has violated the rules of the organization. Three members of the California Commission are scheduled to go on trial next month in Los Angeles, and they potentially face the death penalty if convicted.
The Aryan Brotherhood case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles; the California Department of Corrections; the United States Bureau of Prisons; and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. These agencies received the assistance of the United States Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ATF Field Offices across the United States.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Steve Wolfe
Assistant United States Attorney Terri K. Flynn
Assistant United States Attorney Joey L. Blanch
Release No. 06-121