Bloods gang murderers sentenced

Published 9:29 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

Two more members of the local Bounty Hunter Bloods/Nine Tech Gangsters street gang have been sentenced in federal court on firearms and racketeering charges.

James Martin “Bloody 45” Harris, 22, and Arous John “A.J.” Phillips, 23, participated in the August 2006 murder of Darius Powell, whom they thought had robbed a fellow gang member during a dice game in Portsmouth’s Cradock neighborhood, according to court documents.

The two men went looking for Powell and when they found him, they robbed him and beat him on the head with a sawed-off shotgun and a handgun. Powell died from the head trauma.

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Later, according to court documents, Phillips was involved in the attempted murder of a witness to that crime, along with the beating and robbery of some rival gang members and of a Getty Mart in Portsmouth. Harris was also involved in dealing drugs.

Both men had pled guilty to the charges. They were sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman. Harris will serve 30 years in federal prison on the racketeering charge, followed by 10 years on the firearm charge. Phillips will serve 32 years on the racketeering charge, followed by 10 years on the firearm charge.

Police departments in Suffolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth joined the Virginia State Police and the FBI in the investigation that led to the arrest of Harris, Phillips and several other members of the two street gangs that operated in all three cities.