Hunter and associates had terrorized East Baltimore community, prosecutors say
Office of the Maryland Attorney General Press Release
BALTIMORE (September 11, 2015) - A ranking member of the notorious Black Guerilla Family was sentenced today to two consecutive life terms for a 2011 execution-style murder in East Baltimore, the Office of the Attorney General announced.
The sentence closes a long chapter of violence perpetrated by one of the most ruthless gang members in Baltimore history, according to Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, who prosecuted the case. The penalty for David Hunter, 28, was announced by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Alfred E. Nance.
Last month, a Baltimore jury convicted Hunter of all charges related to the murder of Henry Dominic Mills, 40, including first-degree murder, conspiracy, firearms violations, and participating in a criminal gang under Maryland's rarely-used gang statute.
"Bringing engines of violence like David Hunter to justice, no matter how much work or time it takes, is how we can bring a measure of peace to the family and how we end the cycles of violence in our communities," said Deputy Attorney General Vignarajah.
Hunter's conviction is one of the first ever under the Maryland gang statute, which provides for a 20-year-penalty consecutive to all other sentences.
Mills was shot once in the back of the head as he walked in the 2400 block of Greenmount Avenue on June 14, 2011. According to witnesses, Hunter, a ranking member of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF), fled after firing the shot, but returned later and was publicly congratulated by fellow gang members. BGF had claimed the area around 24th Street and Barclay Street as part of its drug territory for years, and prosecutors presented evidence that the murder of Mills was meant to send a message to rival gangs and drug operations and to potential witnesses to remain silent.
Prosecutors acknowledged that Mills sold drugs in the area, but told the judge during the sentencing hearing, referring to Mills, that while there may be "no angels in the city," there are good people who deserve justice.
Hunter, who prosecutors described as the "executioner" for the gang, had admitted to police as early as 2007 that he was a BGF member and had a significant criminal history including convictions for firearms and felony narcotics violations. He also was charged but acquitted of a 2009 quadruple shooting that prosecutors allege was also gang related.
The BGF regime in which Hunter participated was identified by police during the trial as one of the most ruthless in the City's history. The territory near 24th & Barclay was considered one of the city's most violent areas - at least until 48 members and associates of the regime were indicted in November 2013. During the sentencing, Vignarajah compared the three years preceding the indictments, when there was an average of 10 shootings and murders each year, to the 18 months that followed the indictments when there were only 2 shootings and no homicides in the same area. In explaining the impact of the gang on the community, the State noted that 52 individuals had been shot or killed during the gang's reign of terror from 2007 until November 2013 in a close-knit residential area smaller than Federal Hill.
A defense lawyer asked for leniency, pointing to Hunter's traumatic childhood that included witnessing a murder and being warned by his mother not to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation. At the sentencing, Vignarajah replied, "Hunter had himself become the agent of fear, the angel of death, that his mother warned him of when he was five years old."
Judge Nance sentenced Hunter to life in prison for murder in the first degree, life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder, 20 years for using a firearm in a crime of violence, 20 years for the gang violation, all consecutive to one another.
Mills' mother and family, who asked that a statement be read during the sentencing but did not attend the public proceeding for fear of retaliation, said they were "elated" by the sentence. "We want to thank the prosecutors and police and federal agents who believed in seeking justice in this case and were willing to stand up for Henry," the family said. "At long last, he can rest in peace."