Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Black gang leader Donald "Amen" Raynor has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the June 2007 murder of rival gang member Delano Gray
Superior Court Judge Hunchu Kwak called Raynor — a two-time convicted felon with a list of pending serious criminal charges — a "very violent and dangerous man who poses a danger to society," before sentencing him to the maximum term. Raynor's sentencing was the latest chapter in a homicide case that went unsolved for six years before a tip from a prison inmate led to a suspect and the prosecution of others tied to Raynor and the gang's criminal acts. Jurors in March 2015 found Raynor guilty of the June 18, 2007, murder of Gray, 22, during a drive-by shooting on Enfield Street. An earlier trial for Gray's murder ended with a hung jury in September 2014. Gray's case was featured in the state's cold-case playing card project, in which decks of cards are sold to prison inmates with information about unsolved homicides and missing persons cases printed on each card. Raynor was arrested in 2013 after an inmate gave police information about Gray's murder. The investigation of Gray's murder also led to more than a dozen arrests in a drug sweep that targeted a crack cocaine and heroin distribution network involving the Money Green Bedroc gang in Hartford's North End. Police said that Raynor was a leader in the gang. Gray was a member of The Avenue gang, which is also known as The Ave., police said. The gang is based in the Albany Avenue area. Both groups fought over drug turf in the city. Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Griffin said that Raynor was both "vicious and cowardly" the day he was out to shoot a rival gang member at random on June 18, 2007, with a .223-caliber Kel-Tec firearm. Raynor was lying down in the back seat of a vehicle when he spotted Gray and fired multiple shots in his direction, Griffin said. Gray tried to run away and was shot in the back. Griffin said that investigators found 15 shell casings from the weapon in the street. Bullets also struck three homes, piercing the back of a sofa in a living room of one home and putting a hole in the wall of a dining room closet in another house on the street. Jose Rivera, Raynor's accomplice in the shooting of Gray, is serving a 42-year prison sentence for a 2011 murder. Eight months later, Griffin said that the same firearm was used in a shooting in Hartford in which multiple shots were fired and another home was struck. Raynor also faces charges in connection with the gang-related shootings of five other people in the city in 2007 and 2008. Court records said that the shootings were in retaliation for the slaying of Raynor's friend, Ezekiel Roberts, at the West Indian Day parade in August 2008. Roberts, who police said was a high-ranking member of the Money Green Bedroc gang, was killed during a violent clash between the feuding gangs at the parade. Four teens and two children under the age of 10 were wounded by the gunfire at the parade.