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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Member Of Cherry Hill Group ‘Little Spelman’ Pleads Guilty To Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Drug Dealing And Two Murders

Shootings and Murders Attributed to Rival Drug Gangs

Baltimore, Maryland – Davon Martin, age 25, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, related to his drug dealing and violence in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.

“Many of the shootings and murders in Baltimore City result from disputes between rival drug gangs,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Thanks to a lengthy and intensive investigation, we will hold accountable the criminals who turned Cherry Hill into a war zone.”

According to his plea agreement, from at least 2003 to 2013, Davon MARTIN was a member of a group known as “Little Spelman” in the “down the hill” area of Cherry Hill. This group committed acts of robbery, homicides, non-fatal shootings and drug distribution, to include crack cocaine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. From 2009 to 2011, Martin, along with another member of Little Spelman, operated a crack cocaine distribution “shop” out of an apartment located on Round Road. Martin and others sold at least two kilograms of crack cocaine from the apartment on Round Road. On at least one occasion, while in possession of a firearm, Martin robbed an individual who had sold him some bad cocaine. Martin admitted he has also committed other robberies related to his drug distribution.

Martin admitted that on January 20, 2011, he shot and killed Rhidell Price, a member of a rival group operating in Cherry Hill known as “Up Da Hill,” in the rear of 2900 Denham Circle. After receiving a call that Price was in the area, Martin and an associate drove down to Denham Circle where Rhidell Price was getting out of a vehicle parked on the street. Martin got out of his vehicle and began shooting at Price, chasing after Price and ultimately killing him. Martin killed Price in retaliation for Martin and another Little Spelman member being shot at by Up Da Hill members a few days earlier.

Two days after Martin killed Price, on January 22, 2011, Little Spelman associate Harry Hicks was shot and killed by Up Da Hill members in retaliation for Price’s murder. On April 9, 2011, Martin shot and killed Up Da Hill member Dwight Taylor at a barbershop on W. Saratoga Street in Baltimore, in retaliation for Hicks’ murder. During the murder, Martin was wearing a black jacket and a black mask which he discarded in a nearby dumpster on Clay Street. Both the mask and jacket were recovered by police from the dumpster. The DNA recovered from both the face mask and the jacket matched Martin’s DNA. A ballistics comparison of the .45 caliber firearm that Martin used to kill Taylor revealed that it was the same gun used on January 28, 2011 by Dominic Hope, another Little Spelman associate, and the former leader of Little Spelman, to shoot Up Da Hill member Antione White, who was leaving the funeral of Rhidell Price. Dominic Hope was subsequently shot and killed on January 20, 2012.

Martin and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement he will be sentenced to between 30 and 35 years in prison. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for July 18, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the FBI, Baltimore County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department, and Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea L. Smith and Brooke Carey, who are prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015