Anthony Skinner was only 16 but eager to increase his standing in Buffalo’s LRGP gang.
He did it by killing Andre Anderson.
Now 20, Skinner admitted his role in the four-year-old murder as part of a plea deal Wednesday that could send him to federal prison for more than 21 years.
Prosecutors say Anderson, 31, was targeted because LRGP leader Dewayne Gray believed he had stolen weapons from the gang.
“Gray said take care of it, and he did,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Duskiewicz said of Skinner.
As part of his plea agreement, Skinner admitted being a member of LRGP, a gang that sold drugs in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood and relied on violence to keep rival gangs out.
Anderson, who was not a gang member, died Aug. 3, 2009, after being shot at Peckham and Lombard streets.
Skinner, as part of his agreement with prosecutors, admitted pulling the trigger that day, and Wednesday he pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering.
He also pleaded guilty to an attempted-murder charge in the shooting of an unnamed rival gang member on March 15, 2010, near 3167 Bailey Ave.
Prosecutors say the victim was a member of the Bailey Boys, a gang that often feuded with LRGP, which is named for the East Side territory it once controlled, an area bounded by Lombard, Rother, Gibson and Playter streets.
Skinner, in his plea deal, said he tried to kill the rival gang member because he believed he was responsible for the previous murder of an LRGP member.
“I don’t think it was anything he thought through,” Patrick J. Brown, Skinner’s defense lawyer, said of the two shootings. “It’s just the way they do business.”
Even before his guilty plea, Skinner was viewed by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, a coalition of police agencies investigating the gang, as one of its most violent members.
The fact that he’s now behind bars is proof that the task force’s commitment to ending the gang war paid off, the new head of the FBI in Buffalo said Wednesday.
“Gang-inspired crimes, especially those resulting in extraordinary violence and murderous activity, require law enforcement’s efforts to be tenacious and persistent,” said Brian P. Boetig, special agent in charge of the local FBI office.
Skinner is currently in state prison after pleading guilty to a weapons charge in the July 2011 shooting of Bailey Boys member Rayshod Washington in broad daylight.
The shooting was caught on a city surveillance camera and was seen in real time by Mayor Byron W. Brown, who just happened to be in the camera room at Buffalo Police Headquarters.
A few days later, the Bailey Boys allegedly retaliated when Tariq Brown spotted Skinner on Kensington Avenue and opened fire. Police said Skinner was shot in the chest and barely survived the attack.
Brown has since been charged in another shooting, as well, this one at Martin Luther King Park in May 2012. He is accused of firing into a crowd of 100 picnickers, killing Marquay Lee, 26, and wounding four others.
Skinner said very little during his court appearance but at one point mentioned he is writing a book about the “criminal mind” while in jail.
When U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara asked how he was researching the book, Skinner said it would be based on his “exposure and understanding of the criminal mind.”