Brothers connected to 1994 drug-related murder get 40-year prison sentence
Three men, all brothers, have been sentenced in Brooklyn federal court for their involvement in a 20-year-old Staten Island murder case. Brian Gill received a term of life in prison for his role while his brothers, David Gill and Samuel McIntosh, were handed a 40-year sentence behind bars. Eastern District of New York Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon sentenced each man on Wednesday.
The three brothers were convicted in November 2014, following a three-week jury trial, for the June 1994 drug-related murder of Michael Dawson outside the Park Hill housing complex in the Clifton neighborhood of Staten Island.
Twenty years ago, both the victim and the defendants were a part of a drug-trafficking ring that operated out of the Park Hill complex. According to reports, victim Dawson, 22, was selling crack cocaine from 141 Park Hill Ave., but soon moved his operations to 160 Park Hill Ave. — a more profitable building for crack dealing, the government asserted.
It was Brian Gill — also known as “Brawl” — who decided to retaliate against Dawson for what he believed to be an uninvited encroachment on Gill’s drug turf and also for supposed embarrassment for losing a fistfight.
On the day of the murder, “Brawl picked a fight with someone close to Dawson and [a friend], punching that person in the face. They fought, and Brawl lost. He was embarrassed — disrespected on his own turf. And so he called his brothers, the two people he could count on most, and got his gun,” argued Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata, as reported by SILive .com (Staten Island Advance’s website).
Later that afternoon, defendant McIntosh and Dawson approached the same car for an attempted drug sale. McIntosh pulled out his weapon and fired at Dawson; his brothers also joined in firing guns.
“For years, these defendants made drug dealing and violence a daily reality for the law-abiding residents of Park Hill,” Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, said at the time of the defendant’s conviction.
“[T]hese three men have been held accountable for the lives they have destroyed and the harm they have done to one of our communities.”
Brian Gill fled from Staten Island shortly after Dawson’s murder, but returned in 2011 and went back to the drug trade.
Seventeen years after returning to Park Hill, Brian Gill launched another crack-dealing business from his residence at 160 Park Hill Ave. His brothers participated in and helped Brian with that business.
Brian Gill and David Gill were also convicted of a narcotics trafficking conspiracy between 2011 and 2013. McIntosh was acquitted of the drug trafficking charge, but the government showed at sentencing, by clear and convincing evidence, that he did participate.
Family members of the victim and defendants expressed polarized opinions on the outcome of the case.
“I feel that what went on in that courtroom was obscene,” Corey Gill, the defendants’ brother, told SILive.com, contending that government witnesses got to keep the proceeds of their drug-dealing activity. “I submit that they’re not cooperating with the government, but the government is cooperating with them, and this is what America has come to.”
Herman Dawson — the victim’s brother — noted that the Park Hill community was too afraid to speak up. “The sad part is, the whole community knew who did it. Everybody knew who did it,” he said. “But the community was terrorized, and no one would come forward. It took 20 years for people to feel comfortable enough or feel compelled enough to actually tell what happened.”
“For years, these defendants escaped punishment for a senseless murder they committed in a community plagued by drug-trafficking and violence for far too long,” Lynch ofWednesday’s sentencing. “The sentences imposed appropriately reflect the seriousness of their crimes and demonstrate our steadfast commitment to holding accountable those who choose to commit murder and drug-trafficking, regardless of the age of their crimes.”
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