Man gets life for 4-year-old's death

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- A gang member convicted in the murder of a 4-year-old girl was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The girl's mother said he got off too easy.

"I feel they should get what my daughter got," Shalla Gillum tearfully told a federal judge at the sentencing of Keith Crenshaw for the shooting of Davisha Brantley-Gillum.

"Family still gets to come see him. I can't see my daughter. What you get, you should be happy about because you're still alive. My daughter is dead," Gillum said.

In July, a jury convicted Crenshaw, 27, and two other members of the Rolling 60s Crips with murder in aid of racketeering for the July 20, 1996, fatal shooting of Davisha.The shooting outraged police and community leaders, who offered a $50,000 reward and erected billboards asking for help in cracking the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Paulsen said investigators worked for nearly four years to break the gang's code of silence.


Also convicted in July were Timothy McGruder, 26, and Kamil Johnson, 23. All three men allegedly attempted to fire at the car Davisha rode in while it was stopped for gas in St. Paul. Authorities say the men mistook the Cadillac for a carload of rival Bogus Boyz gang members. Davisha was shot as she slept next to her mother, who also was injured.

Testimony in the trial indicated that McGruder complained afterward that his gun jammed and that the bullet that struck Davisha came from a rare type of handgun that Johnson had stolen from his girlfriend.

Johnson is scheduled for sentencing on Friday and McGruder on Dec. 23.

Crenshaw did not speak about the killing at the sentencing Wednesday and has denied being there. His fiancée; testified at the trial that he was home with her in Minneapolis when Davisha was shot.

His lawyers, Seamus Mahoney and James Ostgard, asked for a new trial, which U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum denied. The lawyers also said Crenshaw should get a lesser sentence because of the minor role he was accused of having. If Crenshaw was at the gas station that day, they said, it was not his bullet that killed the girl.

In denying the reduction, the judge said Crenshaw's role was not minor.

"A minor or minimal role is for someone with peripheral involvement," Rosenbaum said. "The defendant went with a group of others knowing exactly what they had in mind -- to kill somebody."

Rosenbaum also ordered Crenshaw to pay more than $16,000 in restitution Shalla Gillum and $4,000 to the Crime Victim's Fund.


Mahoney said he plans to appeal. Crenshaw was already serving a 20-year sentence on a federal drug charge, and his murder sentence will begin running after he completes the drug sentence.

The former leader of the Rolling 60s Crips who ordered the shooting was sentenced to 14 years in prison in July. Terron "Rico" Williams avoided a possible life sentence because his testimony helped convict Crenshaw, McGruder and Johnson.

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.