General Crime

* Down Below Gang Member Emile Fort Admitted To Murder Of 7-Week-Old And Two Teenagers Gets Only 41 Years??

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A former drug gang member who admitted to three murders, including the fatal shooting of a 7-week-old baby, is due to be sentenced in federal court today on a racketeering charge. Emile Fort, 27, a former member of the Down Below Gang in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy before U.S. District Judge William Alsup in March.As part of the plea, he admitted to murdering a baby and two teenagers in 2003 and 2004 as gang-related racketeering acts. Alsup will sentence Fort at his Federal Building courtroom this morning. The plea bargain calls for a sentence of 40 years in federal prison,with no credit for time previously spent in state prison,for a total of 41 years and four months. Prosecutors and defense attorneys have urged Alsup to accept the sentence, which was approved by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. But Alsup said at the time of the guilty plea that he was not sure whether he will accept the proposed penalty, saying, “It seems to be a very lenient sentence in my view.”If the judge imposes a longer sentence, Fort will have the right to withdraw his guilty plea and have a new trial. The maximum possible sentence for the racketeering charge is life in prison.Fort pleaded guilty to the charge after less than a week of a trial on multiple charges, including three separate murder counts in addition to racketeering. If he had been convicted of the separate murder charges, he could have faced a rare federal death penalty.Fort was the last to plead guilty among 12 Down Below gang members who were named in an 86-count federal indictment in 2005.Prosecutors said the gang operated in the area of the Sunnydale housing project, where it sold crack cocaine and other drugs and protected its turf with violence and murder.

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