Gang member who killed man for wearing the wrong color gets life in prison

BALTIMORE - A man convicted of killing another man for wearing a red shirt in an area where blue was the dominate gang color will spent the rest of his life in prison.

Phillip Herrell was sentenced to life plus 15 years in prison for the 2007 death of 32-year-old Melvin Jordan, Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein announced.

According to a news release from the state's attorney's office, on June 8, 2007, Jordan was questioned by Herrell's associates about wearing a red shirt in the neighborhood Herrell had controlled for years. At the time, the Crips were the most prominent gang in the area around Ensor and East Preston streets in East Baltimore.

Bernstein said the Crips' color is blue, while the color of their rivals, the Bloods, is red. Jordan, speaking to his wife on his cell phone told his wife that he would call her back as soon as he resolved what appeared to be a minor dispute. However, Bernstein said, Herrell got a gun and, without another word, shot Jordan six times at point blank range.

According to the release, the shooting went cold for years because residents were fearful Herrell would seek retribution for testifying against him. However, on July 24, a Baltimore City Circuit Court jury convicted Herrell, 32, of all charges, including first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a crime of violence.

"This case represents another example of our relentless efforts to investigate and prosecute these brutal crimes committed by violent repeat offenders even after the trail has gone cold," Bernstein said in a statement. "Indeed, this type of case is exactly why I created the Major Investigations Unit.

"For years, Herrell and his associates terrorized their neighborhood through extreme violence and intimidation. Now, thanks to the persistence and determination of the Baltimore City Police Department and my Major Investigations Unit, Herrell's predatory reign is over."


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