A member of the "Heartless Felons" gang was sentenced to 36 months in prison for threatening the judge presiding over the murder trial of a fellow gang member, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced.
On Monday, William Hammons, 24, of Cleveland, pleaded guilty to one count of retaliation, a third-degree felony, as well as three misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing.
The charges stemmed from death threats that Hammons sent to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Astrab, who presided in the trial of Heartless Felons leader Julius Webster, which concluded in February.
Hammons, who was incarcerated at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility during Webster's trial, sent a letter threatening Judge Astrab, who had also presided over Hammons' 2012 aggravated murder case. Hammons was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 100 years, in that case.
Visiting Judge Dale Crawford, who was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court after Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court recused itself due to conflict, delivered the three-year sentence.
"This case sends a clear message to gang members who think they can reach beyond prison walls to continue terrorizing our community: We will not tolerate threats or intimidation against public servants in Cuyahoga County," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mahmoud Awadallah, who represented the state of Ohio, along with Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Santoli.