Frankford gang member sentenced to 50 years

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. ••

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