Antoine “Deuce” Sanders, self-proclaimed leader of the Rollin’ 60s Crypts, ordered teenagers to commit crimes in North Buffalo as part of a gang initiation, prosecutors say.
He was suspected of directing two boys to fatally stab and burn a 16-year-old on an old railroad off Colvin Avenue nearly three years ago.
He was never charged, but Ezeikile Nafi, who was 16 at the time, and Demetrius Huff, 17, were convicted at separate trials and are serving lengthy prison sentences. Neither Nafi nor Huff would testify against Sanders for fear of reprisal, prosecutors said.
Last summer, Sanders, 22, of Glenwood Avenue, recruited five teens, ages 15 to 18, for the gang and ordered them to rob victims he selected at random, prosecutors said.
During a 24-hour period, they held up five people at gunpoint, taking three cars, money, jewelry and other personal property.
Eventually, all the teens pleaded guilty, leaving Sanders facing trial Monday. But just before jury selection was to begin, Sanders pleaded guilty as charged to five counts of first-degree robbery and one count of weapon possession for providing the teens with the .25-caliber pistol used in the holdups.
Sanders could face up to 50 years in prison when State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns sentences him April 28.
District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III noted two other cases that his office prosecuted against the Crypts after Darren Brown’s body was found burned and covered with 54 stab wounds July 5, 2012, in a wooded area off the former railroad tracks.
In one case, gang members Kentie Crump, 17, and Eric Smith, 22, were both convicted of first-degree assault for shooting at another gang member on Aug. 5, 2012, in retaliation for his cooperation in the homicide investigation.
In the other case, the cooperating gang member was shot in the back on Jan. 18, 2013. Kenneth Crump, 19, brother of Kentie Crump, and Woodrow Abrams, 19, brother of Eric Smith, were convicted of assault.
Sedita said the four cases show that “some of the most dangerous criminals, committing the most heinous crimes, are under the age of 18” and that “these thugs will not hesitate to engage in witness intimidation should they find out, before trial, who will testify against them.”
In the car-theft case, Sanders was arrested at 10:50 p.m. Aug. 7 in a vehicle at his grandparents’ Rugby Road home with the robbery weapon.
Suspects in the robberies are Jawon Williams of Sattler Avenue, who was 17 at the time and is now 18; Terryn Jones, of Donovan Drive, who was 16 at the time and now is 17; Michael McCrayer, 18, of Sattler Avenue, and a 15-year-old juvenile.