WASHINGTON, D.C. (11/30/12) – Christopher Conyers, a/k/a Snooty, 26, of Nashville, was sentenced yesterday by Senior U.S. District Judge John T. Nixon, to 276 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin. Conyers pleaded guilty in July 2011 to offenses including conspiring to aid the attempted escape of Rollin’ 90s Crips gang leader Jamal Shakir from federal custody, conspiring to commit an armed drug-related robbery of a person known as “Lil Ced,” and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
According to the complaint, Conyers participated in a conspiracy to help Jamal Shakir escape from federal custody while Shakir was awaiting sentencing on federal murder and drug trafficking charges. In May 2008 Shakir was convicted, after a lengthy jury trial, of committing and having others commit multiple murders, as part of a continuing criminal enterprise operating in Nashville, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and other areas in the United States.
While awaiting sentencing on those convictions, Shakir formed plans to escape from custody and revitalize his street gang. Shakir allied himself with other street gangs, including the Rollin’ 60s Crips, to carry out other crimes to finance gang operations. According to intercepted conversations and correspondence, Conyers participated in these conspiracies to help Shakir escape from custody and to commit an armed home-invasion robbery against Lil Ced, who the conspirators believed to be a significant drug trafficker. As a result of that information, Conyers was arrested in September 2009 and eventually pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
At the sentencing hearing, Conyers claimed that his actions in passing information to others, as part of the conspiracy to break Shakir out of Nashville’s Criminal Justice Center, only justified a sentence of about 10 years.
The United States argued for a higher sentence, pointing out that the conspiracy involved the planned theft of a helicopter and a home invasion robbery and the defendant’s criminal history, which included two drug trafficking felonies and an evading arrest felony. The United States also pointed out that Jamal Shakir was one of the most dangerous defendants to be prosecuted in this district, as demonstrated by his convictions for killing at least nine people as part of his drug trafficking enterprise.
Senior Judge Nixon, who also presided over the trial of Jamal Shakir, considered the need for specific deterrence of Conyers in determining the 23-year sentence and that the community was entitled to retribution for the serious crimes committed by him. There is no parole in the federal system.
“This defendant’s efforts to help a dangerous felon escape from custody and his actions in helping to target a person for an armed home-invasion robbery fully justify the sentence imposed by the court," said U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin. “This defendant was given repeated chances in the state court system to stop committing crimes and repeatedly violated probationary sentences granted to him. The people of this district are entitled to protection from such recidivists.”
Several defendants in this case are still awaiting trial on a variety of charges including drug trafficking, conspiracy to commit armed robberies affecting commerce, and obstruction of justice, as a result of the overall investigation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sunny A.M. Koshy and Lynne T. Ingram.
Information provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
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