Young Man Arrested During Freddie Gray Riots Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison
20 Year Old Donta Betts pleaded guilty to two charges last Friday and Received a 15 Year Prison Sentence
According to the Baltimore Sun, the 20 year old young man, Donta Betts, seen in the photo above was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The details of the charges, according to the Baltimore Sun, are as follows:
Donta Betts of Baltimore pleaded guilty in March to making a destructive device near the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues on April 27, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to shooting a woman in the leg over a $20 drug deal on July 2, 2015, federal prosecutors said in court Friday.
According to the 2015 article on the original arrest of Donta Betts, he was the third person federally charged in the Freddie Gray riots.
Below is an excerpt from the original article…
Betts confessed to creating an explosion in the street to ward off the cops “so people could finish … stealing whatever they was going to steal,” according to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent who interviewed him on July 7 after he was arrested on unrelated charges.
“I figured I did all this because that was my period of time to go wild on the police,” Betts said, according to a criminal complaint. He also admitted to stealing from the CVS, a shoe store at Mondawmin Mall and a liquor store, the agent wrote.
He faces at least five years, and up to 20 years, on the attempted arson charge, up to five years on the obstruction charge, and up to 10 years on the destructive device charge.
No lawyer was listed for Betts, and no phone number was listed for his Abington Avenue address.
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The Baltimore Sun also documented comments from U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein…
“Donta Betts engaged in arson, looting, assault and other mayhem during the Baltimore riots…This man was an armed drug dealer, and because he was carrying a gun, he used it to try to kill a woman over a $20 drug debt,” Rosenstein said.
“Too many of the 344 murders and 700 nonfatal shootings last year were over similar pointless beefs. That is what happens when criminals are allowed to carry loaded guns.”
Below are some comments from Betts and his Attorney
Betts’ attorney, Shari Heather Silver, asked the judge to consider Betts’ youth and his “cognitive limitations.” She described her client as a “scared, remorseful individual” who is functionally on the same level as a child. Silver said she has noticed an emotional decline in Betts since working with him and at times has seen him fighting back tears.
Silver also noted that Betts was one of thousands of young people who participated in the rioting.
“He cannot be held responsible for everyone else’s conduct,” she said.
Appearing in federal court wearing red scrubs, Betts told the judge, “I’m very sorry for my bad decision making.” He also apologized to the people he might have hurt that day.
Baltimore and Montgomery County Police Officers present on the scene, also shared some of their experience with The Baltimore Sun:
Lt. Peter Davidov of the Montgomery County Special Events Response Team said his unit was sent to Pennsylvania and North avenues, which became a center for the riots. They were asked to stop looters at the CVS and other stores, but he said they had to wait because of the incendiary devices that were being used.
Davidov and other officers waited until the device Betts created exploded, he said, adding that they had gear to protect them from flying rocks but not from an explosion.
“His actions had a significant impact on us,” he said. “I personally felt very vulnerable.”
Baltimore police Lt. Chris O’Ree also was among the officers in a line near the CVS who waited until after the explosion to begin trying to control the situation. “It was absolutely a terrifying scene,” he said.
A couple months after the Freddie Gray riots, Betts shot a woman in the leg. The details from the case, according to the Baltimore Sun, are as follows:
Prosecutors said that two months later, Betts shot a woman who previously had purchased heroin from him, for which he expected $40 but only received $20. Betts shot the woman in the leg while she was seated in a vehicle with another person. She drove herself to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Prosecutors said that in later jailhouse phone calls to a friend, Betts used the victim’s name while asking a friend to try to get the victim to sign an affidavit stating that Betts did not shoot her. Prosecutors said he admitted to the shooting during the same call.
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