Gang member sentenced to death in soccer tournament shooting

AP News
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Posted: Sep 04, 2015 12:59 PM

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware street gang member was sentenced to death Friday for his role in a 2012 soccer tournament shooting that left three people dead, including a man who was supposed to testify in another murder case.

Otis Phillips, 39, was sentenced to death for the murder of tournament organizer Herman Curry, 47.

Prosecutors said Curry was targeted in an act of revenge and also to prevent him from testifying about a 2008 killing for which Otis Phillips was wanted. Phillips was convicted of second-degree murder in that 2008 killing of Christopher Palmer and was sentenced to life in prison Friday. He also received more than 140 years in prison for other crimes related to the soccer shootings.

Another gang member, Jeffrey Phillips, 24, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for Curry's murder. He received another 76 years for other crimes, including the killing of 16-year-old soccer player Alexander Kamara.

The two defendants, who are not related, were convicted of first-degree murder in Curry's death and manslaughter in the killing of Kamara, who was struck in the head as shots rang out at Wilmington's Eden Park on July 8, 2012.

According to prosecutors, the defendants were members of a criminal street gang known as the Sure Shots and were out to avenge a friend's killing earlier that day. They also said Otis Phillips wanted to silence Curry.

Witnesses testified that Otis Phillips walked up to Curry on the soccer field, tapped him on the shoulder, told him he was going to die, then shot him three times. Authorities said Jeffrey Phillips shot into the crowd, killing Kamara, as he and Otis Phillips tried to escape.

The two suspects were found hiding in a nearby backyard, with Jeffrey Phillips suffering from a gunshot wound in the leg, after the car in which they were riding crashed.

Sheldon Ogle, 43, a cousin of Otis Phillips, was found fatally shot in the driver's seat of the car after being hit by return gunfire from soccer spectators, according to authorities.

Prosecutors said ballistics evidence tied the gun used by Jeffrey Phillips to both the Eden Park shootings and to the scene of a shooting earlier that day in which Kirt Williams, 28, a close friend of Jeffrey Phillips and the brother of Otis Phillips' girlfriend, died.

Williams was killed at a graduation party hosted by a Jamaican family at an unlicensed dance club. Prosecutors say Jeffrey Phillips began spraying bullets outside the party after Williams was shot, and that members of the Sure Shots then plotted to go after Curry, a well-known member of Wilmington's Jamaican immigrant community, in revenge.