in Prison for Killing Witness in Drug Case,
May 21 (Washington) - Weldon Gordon, 34, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was sentenced today to life in prison on federal charges stemming from the 2008 slaying of a government witness, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Mark A. Magaw, Chief of the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department.
Gordon was convicted by a jury in February 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with a witness, one count of tampering with a witness, victim or informant by killing, and two counts of unlawful distribution of 50 grams or more of cocaine base. The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina sentenced him today.
According to the government’s evidence, the victim, 32-year-old Andre Hayes, was cooperating with the DEA in an investigation of drug activities. Gordon sold crack cocaine two times in the District of Columbia to Mr. Hayes, who was acting in an undercover capacity at the direction of the DEA. Additionally, Mr. Hayes covertly purchased narcotics from Gordon on one other occasion, March 5, 2008, in Prince George’s County.
Gordon was arrested on September 26, 2008 for violating federal narcotics laws, and was indicted for offenses that involve the sales he made to Mr. Hayes. On November 1, 2008, Gordon shot and killed Mr. Hayes to prevent Mr. Hayes from testifying as a witness in Gordon’s then-pending drug case. Mr. Hayes was slain while he was seated in a vehicle parked in the driveway of the Gordon family’s home in Prince George’s County. He was hit three times by the gunfire, including twice in the heart.
Evidence showed that Mr. Hayes was lured to that location by a co-conspirator of Gordon’s, who falsely befriended the victim. She earlier pled guilty to a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice by tampering with a witness, and is awaiting sentencing.
After killing the witness, Gordon took additional steps to obstruct justice, including fabricating a false alibi with his co-defendant, suborning perjury by recruiting family members who testified falsely before a federal grand jury to the false alibi, and by attempting to solicit additional family members to testify falsely at his upcoming trial as to the false alibi.
Gordon’s sister, Keyla Clements, 36, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pled guilty on March 8, 2012 to committing perjury. Gordon’s mother, Vicki Gordon, 52, also of Upper Marlboro, pled guilty on March 23, 2012 to suborning perjury. Both family members face upcoming sentencing hearings before Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth, on May 21, 2012 and July 9, 2012, respectively.
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that murdering a federal cooperating source will not be tolerated and the repercussions will be severe,” stated Special Agent in Charge Cooper-Davis. “As a result of this investigation and efforts by both federal and local law enforcement, the final chapter of this violent drug trafficker has been written.”
“Weldon Gordon will spend the rest of his life behind bars because he chose to shoot a witness rather than take responsibility for his crack dealing,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “This life sentence demonstrates that striking out against witnesses is no way to escape justice. Nothing strengthens the resolve of law enforcement more than pursuing and punishing criminals who foolishly decide to intimidate, threaten, or hurt a witness willing to stand up and tell the truth.”
“The hard work and dedication demonstrated in this collaborative effort has concluded with a sentence we can all be proud of,” said Prince George's County Chief of Police Magaw. “A dangerous criminal has been taken off the streets. Justice has prevailed.”
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Special Agent in Charge Cooper- Davis, and Chief Magaw commended the actions of the DEA Special Agents, Analysts and former Forensic Chemist who worked on the case. They also praised the work of those who investigated the case for the Prince George’s County Police Department, including Homicide Detective Bernard Nelson, who led the investigative team; Detective Jeffery Eckrich; Retired Detective Ben Hollowell; Officers William Reed, Jeremy Webb, Todd Santos, and Richard “Rick” Lanning; Firearm Examiners Scott McVeigh; DNA Forensic Chemist Jessica Charak, and Crime Scene Specialist Brian Grempler. They also thanked FBI Special Agent Scott Eicher, as well as Dr. Theodore King, of the State of Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, for the assistance they provided.
They praised the work of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Gallun; Litigation Support Unit members Kimberly Smith, Joseph Calvarese, and Leif Hickling; Legal Assistants Tammy Scott and Diane Brashears; Paralegals Regan Gibson and Candace Battle; Victim Witness Security Specialists M. Laverne Forrest, Dawn Tolson-Hightower, and Yvonne Bryant; Intelligence Specialist Sharon Johnson, and former Legal Intern Eli Berman. They also thanked Michael T. Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation, who assisted with the DNA portion of the case.
Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emory V. Cole and Darlene M. Soltys, who investigated and prosecuted the case.