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Buffalo gang member gets 18 years in prison for 2009 murder

Brandon Haugabook died because of a bloody gang feud.

It was July of 2009, at the corner of Townsend Street and Paderewski Drive, and Haugabook, only 19 at the time, was in the company of a female friend.

The man who murdered him, a member of the now dismantled Johnny Rounds Gang, said he targeted Haugabook because he considered him a rival gang member.

“I made some bad decisions in life,” DeMario Stewert told U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.

Skretny sentenced Stewert to 18 years in prison Thursday.

At the time of Haugabook’s murder, Stewert and the rest of the Rounds Crew were feuding with a rival gang, LRGP, located just a few blocks away in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

Stewert pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy but, as part of his plea deal, admitted shooting and killing Haugabook. He said he considered Haugabook a member of LRGP and shot him because of his affiliation with the rival gang.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti said Stewert came from a strong supportive family and yet turned to a life on the streets and a gang that eventually led him into a life of drug dealing and violence.

“That’s the sad part of this case," Violanti said.

Investigators from the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force say the Rounds Crew controlled marijuana sales in the neighborhood for years and used violence to protect its turf from rival drug dealers.

Johnny Rounds, 36, the acknowledged leader of the East Side gang, has admitted taking part in three murders and will face a recommended sentence of up to 25 years in prison when Skretny sentences him.

email: pfairbanks@buffnews.com