Defendants Affiliated With ’39 Babies’ Gang Sentenced After Accepting Plea Agreements

“It hurts me to do this, but I don’t think it’s a mystery why this case requires serious consequences.” said Judge Martin H. Schreiber when sentencing defendant Damone Cornish on Oct. 3. “Justice requires it, and public safety requires it.”

Cornish and one of his co-defendants J’Quan Powell were sentenced to 25 years and 15 years, respectively, after accepting binding plea agreements from the prosecutor. 

Cornish and Powell both pleaded guilty to participating in gang activity, first-degree assault, and using a firearm to commit a felony violent crime in relation to the 2019 non-fatal shooting incident. 

In addition to the three charges in the plea deal, Cornish was facing 49 additional gang-related charges, and Powell was facing 30. 

Fields, 23, who defense attorney Roya Hanna represents, declined to accept the prosecutor’s plea agreement for the same three charges as his two co-defendants.

According to court documents, Cornish, 20, and Powell, 21, were arrested in March 2021 with their co-defendant Raequan Fields, after a Feb. 2020 homicide investigation that led police to discover evidence of a conspiracy within an illegal organization. 

The defendants were affiliated with a Baltimore City-based gang known as the “39 babies,” and cell evidence seized by police was used to prove a pattern of gang-related activity, including multiple murders, non-fatal shootings, carjackings, and murder-for-hire plots, according to prosecutors. 

One of these incidents took place on Dec. 1, 2019, on the 1600 block of Pumphrey Avenue, in which a 21-year-old man was wounded in his home, along with two others. 

Fields, who was charged with 33 counts identical to Powell’s, was warned by Judge Schreiber about the severity of his charges. “It’s going to start getting real,” he stated. “This is a gang case, with a lot of violence.” 

While all three defendants were calm in demeanor as they entered the Baltimore City Circuit courtroom, several of their family members were visibly distraught as they wiped tears from their cheeks. 

During his sentencing, Cornish’s defense attorney Roland Harris explained that his client, a promising student-athlete, was an impressionable and immature 17-year-old at the time of the incident. 

Though Judge Schreiber denied the defense counsel’s request to postpone Cornish’s sentence, he acknowledged that he “fell in with the wrong people” and told him he believed he had the potential to succeed. 

Judge Schreiber denied Hanna’s request to transfer the case to Judge Melissa Phinn after her client rejected the plea agreement. Fields, who was consoled by his mother in the courtroom, was ordered to remain on home detention while he awaits his jury trial. 

The judge ended the day by stating, “This city is being ripped apart by violence, specifically gun violence, and the only way we get out of it is to hold those responsible accountable.”

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