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York City Southside gang enforcer gets 13-plus years in federal prison

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Police said street gangs use graffiti to mark their turf and to intimidate neighbors from speaking with police about gang activity.
(Photo courtesy of York City Police)

A man who police have described as a leader and a main enforcer for York City's Southside gang has been sentenced to more than a decade in federal prison for his crimes.

James "Doocs" Abney Jr., 32, was sentenced in Harrisburg's federal court on Thursday, March 14, to 13⅓ years in federal prison, followed by three years of probation, which federal authorities call supervised release.

He also was ordered to pay his share of $6,500 in restitution, but that amount is split among several defendants, online court records state.

Abney pleaded guilty in August 2015 to conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to deal cocaine, heroin and marijuana, according to federal court records.

The U.S. Attorney's Office noted in court documents that "the amount of direct evidence involving Abney's violence is considerable."

His criminal record starts when he was a juvenile and includes drug dealing, witness intimidation, simple assault and fleeing police, according to federal prosecutors.

A number of Abney's fellow Southside members pleaded guilty, but a dozen went to trial.

A dozen convicted: All 12 were convicted of various racketeering and drug-trafficking offenses in Harrisburg's federal court on Nov. 16, 2015, after a two-month trial.

James "Dooc" Abney Jr., a leader of York City's criminal Southside gang

Many of the gang members have been sentenced to life in prison or de facto life sentences.

"The evidence at trial established that Abney was a leader (of Southside)," federal prosecutors wrote in court filings.

A trial witness testified Abney led the crew's money-making efforts and enforced the gang's structure, according to court records — and also directed gang members to commit violent acts against members of the rival Parkway gang.

How York City crippled a criminal empire

The trial witness recalled that after Abney's brother was jumped by two Parkway members, Abney gathered together Southside members and directed them to retaliate, court records state. That culminated in the group shooting at Parkway members, according to federal prosecutors.

Gang warfare between the Southside and Parkway crews culminated in the Mother's Day 2009 murder of 9-year-old Ciara "CeCe" Savage by Parkway members, federal authorities have said. She was killed by a stray bullet meant for a Southsider.

More:Life in prison for York City Southside gang leader

More:York City gang member sentenced to life in prison

Court records also state Abney broke into a police cruiser and stole a bulletproof vest that was later used by gang members to protect them as they committed racketeering offenses.

York City Police and federal authorities then teamed up to undertake a massive investigation into the Southside gang, which led to the multiple arrests and convictions.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.