A Minneapolis gang associate was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison this week after pleading guilty in June to illegal gun possession, announced U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger.
Twenty-eight-year old Deon Necole Williams, aka “Ghost,” was part of a group of nearly 60 Minneapolis gang members charged in federal court since this spring in the U.S. Attorney’s crackdown on Minneapolis violent crime.
The federal conviction follows a series of stayed and reduced sentences in Minnesota courts that left Williams free from prison after committing violent crimes.
Williams was part of the first group of 45 gang associates federally indicted earlier this spring and has been in federal custody since May. The federal indictment against Williams described him as a member and associate of a criminal organization, namely the north Minneapolis street gang known as the “Highs.”
The north Minneapolis street gangs the “Highs” and the “Lows” are comprised of subsets of gangs or cliques that operate territories generally north and south of West Broadway Avenue, respectively.
The federal indictment stated that Williams was found in possession of a Smith & Wesson model M9 9mm semiautomatic pistol in November 2022.
State conviction history left Williams free on violent crimes
Court records show that Williams had been convicted in January 2021 on a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. However, his 60-month prison sentence was stayed by then Hennepin County Judge Toddrick Barnette, who was recently nominated by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for the position of the city’s highly compensated community safety commissioner.
Williams was instead credited with 157 days already spent in jail and was placed on probation despite at least two prior convictions on violent crimes of robbery and first-degree aggravated robbery. Williams received a stayed sentence and a durational downward departure from sentencing guidelines on those two prior convictions, respectively, as well.
Following the stayed sentence on the gun crime, Williams went on to be charged in another robbery committed in downtown Minneapolis in December 2021. Williams would again be offered a plea deal in that robbery case, leaving him free on a stayed 51-month prison sentence in August 2022 by Hennepin County Judge Michael E. Burns, which was just three months prior to him being arrested on the gun crime that would lead to his federal indictment.
Williams will serve three years under supervision following his release from federal prison.
Unlike Minnesota state sentencing, federal inmates must serve a minimum of 85 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for supervised release.
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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.