Gang Member Gets 41 Years For Murder Of 7-Week-Old Infant, Two Teens
SAN FRANCISCO -- A former San Francisco drug gang member who had admitted to three murders including the slaying of a 7-week-old, was sentenced in federal court in the city Wednesday to 41 years and four months in prison for racketeering.
The sentence approved by U.S. District Judge William Alsup for Emil Fort, 27, was proposed in a plea bargain in March in which Fort pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy.
The guilty plea ended a trial in which Fort could have faced a rare federal death penalty if he had been convicted of the murders of a 7-week-old baby and two teenagers in 2003 and 2004.
Fort admitted to the three fatal shootings during the guilty plea, but could have faced a death penalty only if he had been convicted of slayings as separate crimes of murder in aid of racketeering.
Fort was a member of the Down Below gang, which operated in the Sunnydale housing project in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of the city. Prosecutors said the gang sold cocaine and other drugs and protected its turf with violence and murder.
Alsup had previously said he might not accept the sentence because it was too lenient.
But he announced today he had decided to approve it because prosecutors told him they might have had trouble proving that the murders were committed as part of a racketeering or gang enterprise rather than in a personal vendetta.
The judge said, "This is a compromise. At a minimum it will keep a very dangerous man off the streets for 41 years. There was a risk that might not have happened if we had gone all the way to verdict."
Fort was the last of 12 members of the gang who were indicted in 2005 to plead guilty to various charges.
He will get credit for nearly five years served in state and federal custody since July 2004.