A fourth member of a Frankford gang was ordered Friday to spend at least 50 years in state prison for the October 2006 shooting death of a Far Northeast man.
Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner sentenced Eric I. Gales, 23, to 50 years to life for the murder of Michael Thierry of Morrell Park during a botched robbery on a Frankford street corner. Gales and three co-defendants had organized themselves as the “Parkside Pushers,” a fledgling street gang, and were all teenagers at the time of the slaying.
The killing occurred on Oct. 3, 2006, at Rosalie and Horrocks streets in Frankford. According to court testimony, Thierry, 29, was chatting with three friends outside an apartment building where one of the friends lived, when Gales, Isaiah Ransome, Jerry Ransome and Sean Gordine, attempted to rob Thierry’s group at gunpoint. All four robbers were armed and trapped Thierry’s friends on a flight of steps.
Thierry tried to run, but all four robbers opened fire, wounding Thierry once in the back of the head and once in the torso. An initial murder trial in June 2008 ended with a hung jury. The four killers were later re-tried and convicted.
In preparation for the first trial, Philadelphia Police Officer Patrick McDonald, a childhood friend of Thierry, had written a victim impact statement, but he never got to read it due to the mistrial. McDonald was murdered in the line of duty prior to the re-trial.
After the re-trial ended in convictions, McDonald’s mother, Patricia, read her slain son’s statement to the court. Isaiah Ransome was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Jerry Ransome and Gordine received sentences of 40 years to life.
Jerry Ransome, Gordine and Gales were ineligible or life without parole because they were juveniles at the time of the murder. A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders applied retroactively to the case. ••