mens doc martens sale Bloods girlfriend gives insider’s view of gang life
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As the girlfriend of a Bloods street gang member, Jasmine Rivera had more than a nodding acquaintance with the street gang world.
On Wednesday she gave jurors a rare glimpse into that side of the underworld at the murder trial of Christian Kenyon, one of the members of the Scranton gang “set” who is accused of participating in a 2009 gang execution on Snake Road, a botched hit on another man in West Scranton and a doughnut shop robbery in South Scranton.
Ms. Rivera said she was 17 years old when she began seeing the inner workings of the Lincoln Park Piru, part of the notorious nationwide Bloods street gang, because her boyfriend, Tonie Future, was one of the gang.
One of Mr. Future’s close friends was Mr. Kenyon, who liked to be called “C 4,” a reference to military grade high explosives, Ms. Rivera said.
Like the military, or any other organization for that matter, there was a chain of command or “levels” in the street gang, and Mr. Kenyon seemed to like what he had gotten himself into, she said.
“It looked like he was having fun,” Ms. Rivera said. She said she even had thought about joining the gang because “I didn’t want to be the odd ball out. I wanted to roll with them.”
But she never did, even though she robbed the Dunkin’ Donuts on Moosic Street with Mr. Future and Mr. Kenyon.
The jury watched a video tape from a surveillance camera inside the shop that showed a man armed with a handgun, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a cloth over his face, jumping over the counter while clerks emptied the cash registers for him. The .40 caliber handgun used in the holdup had been stolen from a Pennsylvania state trooper during a burglary at his home, she said.
Ms. Rivera, who pleaded guilty to the burglary and the doughnut shop robbery, is serving a two year, 10 month to 10 year prison sentence.
Dressed in a yellow prison jumpsuit, Ms. Rivera said she did not join the gang because she came to realize “it put you in a position like we are right here,” referring to her prison sentence and Mr. Kenyon’s fate, which could end with him spending the rest of his life in prison. Jeffrey Future, her former boyfriend’s brother, is serving life in prison for participating in the gang execution of Allen Fernandez on Snake Road. Tonie Future is awaiting trial.
Prosecutors have said Mr. Fernandez was driven from Hazleton to Snake Road and shot 12 times because he had switched his gang affiliations “too many times” and got people killed.
Ms. Rivera also testified about the hierarchy of the gang. Loyalty and following the rules are important in the gang culture, and anyone who steps out of line can face nasty consequences, she said.
The jury saw what the prosecution claims is vivid proof of that reality: A color picture flashed on a courtroom screen of the crime scene on Snake Road, complete with evidence markers showing where shell casings landed after Mr. Fernandez was gunned down and minutes later driven over by a girl in Jeep on a joy ride with her girlfriend on a rainy night. The image sent the dead man’s mother rushing out of the courtroom, crying.
Ms. Rivera also told the jury how one goes about becoming a gangbanger. There are two ways one painless, the other painful, she said.
New gang bangers could be “blessed in,” meaning they were vouched for by a family member already in the gang, or “banged in,” meaning the new gang member would be subjected to a group beating. For some, membership provided a sense of belonging and the gang became “kind of like their family.”
Under cross examination by defense lawyer George Gretz, Ms. Rivera was pressed on the identities of the ringleaders. Gretz asked Ms. Rivera, who turned and shot a look to Judge Carmen Minora, asking if she had to answer.
“He didn’t live in Scranton,” she said.
“Name him,” Mr. Gretz said.
“Drama,” Ms. Rivera answered.
Asked for a name instead of a nickname, Ms. Rivera said she had heard the name but couldn’t recall what it was. She said “Drama” was a regional leader of the gang, not just a ringleader in Scranton.