Brothers get up to 41 years for NE shooting

If you’re go­ing to shoot a guy, don’t leave your phone any­where near his body.

This Hood­lum 101 les­son is brought to you cour­tesy of the Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice, which suc­cess­fully pro­sec­uted Thomas and Charles Shields on ag­grav­ated as­sault, con­spir­acy and at­temp­ted kid­nap­ping charges and last week saw them both sen­tenced to long pris­on terms.

Thomas Shields, ac­cord­ing to As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Al­isa Shver, dropped his phone out­side the Joshua House apart­ments on Welsh Road in Novem­ber 2012 as he and his broth­er Charles shot at a man. Shver, of the DA’s North­east Bur­eau, said the Shields broth­ers be­lieved the man they shot had shor­ted them $700 in a drug deal. 

The as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney said the broth­ers hid in bushes out­side the vic­tim’s build­ing on Nov. 17, 2012, and, when he came out, sent an ac­com­plice to ask him for a light. When the vic­tim told the man he didn’t smoke, the ac­com­plice, Lamar Roane, grabbed the man as the Shields broth­ers came out of the bushes and poin­ted guns at the vic­tim. The Shields grabbed the man and put him in a car. However, the vic­tim es­caped when the broth­ers were them­selves get­ting in the car. He ran through a park­ing lot. He turned and saw the broth­ers point­ing guns at him and heard two shots. Wounded, he got in­to a car oc­cu­pied by an un­known wo­man, but fell out of it.

The vic­tim did not re­gain con­scious­ness for days and was hos­pit­al­ized for a month.

“He col­lapsed and al­most died,” Shver said in a Ju­ly 24 phone in­ter­view. Po­lice of­ficers ar­rived with­in minutes. They didn’t wait for an am­bu­lance, she said, they put the vic­tim in a patrol car and drove him to an emer­gency room.

When Thomas Shields, 36, was shov­ing the vic­tim in­to a car, he dropped his phone, the ADA said. It had his pic­ture in it, his name in it, his broth­er’s photo in it and all sorts of in­form­a­tion de­tect­ives found very use­ful in find­ing the broth­ers and Roane, Shver said.

Us­ing in­form­a­tion from that phone and the ac­counts of eye­wit­nesses, de­tect­ives Robert Hagy and George Sul­li­van traced the broth­ers, and their move­ments. De­tect­ives were able to get a state­ment from the vic­tim after he re­gained con­scious­ness, and the broth­ers were soon in cus­tody, Shver said.

In mid-May, the broth­ers were found guilty of at­temp­ted kid­nap­ping, as­sault and con­spir­acy. They were found not guilty of at­temp­ted murder. Last Fri­day, each was sen­tenced to 21-41 years im­pris­on­ment.

Des­pite the fact she had asked Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Ed­ward C. Wright to sen­tence both broth­ers to 30-60 years, Shver said she was very sat­is­fied with the time they got.

“These de­fend­ants are hardened crim­in­als, and the judge re­cog­nized that what they did was es­pe­cially vi­cious,” Shver stated in an email to the Times

Shver told Wright that the broth­ers have long crim­in­al his­tor­ies and had been ar­res­ted to­geth­er on sev­er­al oc­ca­sions. Both men have been in­volved in drug sales for more than a dec­ade, she said.

Charles Shields, 33, has been ar­res­ted 15 times since he was 19 and con­victed sev­en times, Shver told the court. Thomas Shields has been ar­res­ted 14 times since he was 17 and con­victed or ad­ju­dic­ated eight times. The kid­nap­ping at­tempt and shoot­ing in Novem­ber 2012 oc­curred while both broth­ers were on pro­ba­tion for earli­er crimes.

Shver said the Shields’ case was re­ferred to the in­dict­ing grand jury “be­cause the de­fend­ants, through an ac­quaint­ance, com­mu­nic­ated to the vic­tim that they would pay to keep from com­ing to court. When he con­tin­ued to co­oper­ate with po­lice, the broth­ers com­mu­nic­ated to him that they would put out a con­tract on his life.”

The ADA said this wasn’t the first time they’ve been in­volved in a wit­ness in­tim­id­a­tion case.

Roane, 30, pleaded guilty to as­sault and weapons charges in Oc­to­ber 2013, and is serving a three-to-eight-year sen­tence, ac­cord­ing to court re­cords. Shver said he and the Shields broth­ers lived on the same block in Ger­man­town. ••

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