Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
Long IslandCrime

Crips leader sentenced for killing of Bloods chief

Eric Smith.

Eric Smith. Credit: NCPD

A high-ranking leader of the Roosevelt chapter of the Crips street gang was sentenced Wednesday to four life terms plus 30 years in federal prison for the murder of a leader of the rival Bloods gang.

The bloody rivalry, prosecutors said, “turned the Roosevelt, New York, community into a war zone” from 2003 to 2013.

Eric Smith, known as “The Big Hood,” of the Rolling 60s set, or gang chapter, was also convicted at his 2017 trial for attempted murder, racketeering, cocaine dealing and robbery.

Smith also used the street nickname “Esama the Bomba,” a take on Osama bin Laden, as part of his tough guy image, prosecutors said.

“There is no doubt that the defendant lived up to his nickname . . . dealt drugs with the gangs, robbed for the gang and killed for the gang,” Eastern District prosecutor Michael Maffei said during Smith’s trial.

Overall, Smith took part in more than a dozen shootings, according to Maffei, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nichole Boeckmann and Christopher Caffarone.

The Smith case was part of a joint federal-county police crackdown on the Roosevelt Bloods and Crips that has so far resulted in about 30 arrests.

Smith fired his most recent attorney before the sentencing, asserting he had been improperly convicted and the court had no right to sentence him.

“My human rights are being violated . . . the court lacks jurisdiction,” Smith told U.S. District Court Joanna Seybert.

The judge said Smith had three competent attorneys and a fair trial, and termed Smith’s legal theories “bizarre.”

She told him: “You are a menace and a danger,” adding she saw “no hope” of his being rehabilitated.

“The violence committed by this defendant harmed not only his murder and shooting victims, but also the larger community, which is now significantly safer,” Eastern District U.S. Attorney Richard Donaghue said in a statement.

According to prosecutors, Smith shot James McClenic, a leader of the rival Bloods, twice as McClenic sat in a car on a Hempstead street in December 2010.

He was killed because he had “shot at members of the Crips and was taunting and disrespecting them on social media, such as Twitter,” Maffei said during the trial.

Several of McClenic’s relatives were in court but they declined to speak.

In January 2017, Raphael Osborne, the leader of the Roosevelt Crips, who had the title of “The Big Whale,” was sentenced to three life terms plus 145 years for his role in the gang’s activities.

The intensive crackdown on the Roosevelt gangs by the FBI and Nassau County law enforcement began in 2011 when a Hempstead police officer was shot in the arm and his bulletproof vest by a reputed member of the Crips chapter.

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story misstated the number of shots fired at James McClenic when he was killed in his car in December 2010.

Latest Long Island News