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4 Life Terms as Jury Finds Bloods Gang Leader Brandon Washington Guilty on All Charges

| November 2, 2011

Brandon Washington

After deliberating just two hours following an eight-day trial, a jury of four women and five men today found accused gang leader Brandon Washington guilty on all charges he faced, including second-degree murder, racketeering and attempted home invasion. Washington faces life terms on four of the charges. (See the State Attorney’s complete, 41-page charging affidavit, with details on the crimes, below.)

Flagler County Circuit Court Judge Raul Zambrano immediately sentenced him to four life prison terms and one 15-year term.

Under Washington’s rule, 20-year-old gang associate Rashawn Pugh was killed by the intended victim, Sean Christopher Adams, during an attempted Palm Coast home invasion by the Bloods gang in 2007. “The trial was successful because of extensive investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office,” State Attorney R. J. Larizza said today. “Because of the partnership between the State Attorneys Office, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Flagler County is a safer place to live and raise a family.”

Gang members of the Flagler County Bloods were quite busy a few years ago. They were accused of drive-by shootings, armed robberies, burglaries and the murder of one of their own Bloods members during a home invasion. Pugh, 20, was shot and killed during an attempted armed burglary of a house at 43 Pheasant Drive in Palm Coast on Dec. 18, 2007. Sean Christopher Adams, a resident at the house and the target of the home invasion, drew his gun and shot Push.

Ten months later, 12 members of the Bloods were arrested and charged with racketeering, and six months after that, three more were arrested and charged with second degree murder in connection with the Pheasant Drive killing. They were Brandon Elshawon Washington, 22, his girlfriend, Meghan Victoria Smith, 23, and Michael D’Angelo Gilbert, 23.

Washington went on trial last Tuesday on charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, second-degree felony murder, burglary while armed with a firearm and attempted home invasion robbery with a firearm. The case was tried by Assistant State Attorneys Jason Lewis and Jennifer Dunton.

“Brandon Washington has been a plague on the Flagler County community,” Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming said. “His criminal actions resulted not only in loss of property, but more importantly a loss of a life. The efforts of law enforcement, specifically this agency and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, were combined to bring strong and compelling evidence to the Office of the State Attorney who so eloquently presented the case. It is fitting that Mr. Washington has been found guilty. It will also be fitting for him to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”


Washington was portrayed as the head of the Bloods—“the head of the snake,” in assistant state attorney Jennifer Dunton’s words—who planned and ordered the home invasion on Pheasant Drive even though he knew that Adams was armed. Washington is being defended by attorney Fernando Iglesias, who conceded that Washington had his problems with the law, but rejected the allegation that he was a gang leader. The trial is ongoing.

In mid-April, another leader of the Flagler County Bloods, Michael D’Angelo Gilbert, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years probation by Zambrano after the 24-year-old had represented himself during his January trial. He was convicted of being in possession of a firearm while a felon. The gun in the case: a 380-caliber weapon stolen from the car of an off-duty Ormond Beach police officer. The very day of the sentencing, Marquez D’Angelo Peck, 18, and Giuseppe Verdone Jr., 19, who claimed to be affiliated with the Bloods, were arrested in connection with an incident at a school bus stop earlier in the week, where they had threatened to beat up a Matanzas High School student, allegedly because he had a particular kind of stitching on his clothes.

“This conviction should send a message to other criminal gangs that this type of violent behavior will not be tolerated,” Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. “If you choose to be the Leader of a gang, all crimes and actions of the members will be used in the prosecution to enhance any possible sentences.”

Brandon Washington, Bloods Gang Member, Flagler County Affidavit, Charges, 2011

This is an updated story that originally appeared on Oct. 26.

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36 Responses for “4 Life Terms as Jury Finds Bloods Gang Leader Brandon Washington Guilty on All Charges”

  1. Anon says:

    12 or more were arrested in Operation Blood Out, correct? Apparently only the top 2 or 3 got sentenced. The remainder of the group must have been re-purposed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What’s sad is the Sheriff’s department knew this gang was gaining steam in the early 2000’s, but denied a gang problem. Same will the pills. Reactive instead of proactive. Scare people into believing they need a specific type of policing.

  3. Jeannie says:

    I believe in 2000 there was a different sheriff. I think Manfre was sheriff then. Thank go we got Fleming now.

  4. The Piranha says:

    Jeannie, nice post… the sheriff’s office 10 years was run by a lawyer, not a cop. Hat’s off to Sheriff Fleming and his detective squad and deputies who put these thugs away. Those familiar with the racketeering crimes know that those smaller players who plead early plead to less while the main players do life. Have fun in the the pokey!

  5. Anonymous says:

    When Flemming got in office the gang problem was still in it’s development stage! I’m a twenty plus year resident of this town and helplessly saw how on a daily basis the youth of the city declined. I even voiced concern to several people in law enforcement who claimed their hands were tied because of a political divide in the department meaning no communication between the city and within the agency and so on. Now look at Palm Coast, we have gang members, drug organizations using empty house’s to deal drugs, pill traffic young people with no legit income driving around to nowhere in rimmed up cars trying to show off a lavish lifestyle they can’t afford, high amount of burglaries etc. This stuff didn’t happen overnight. You can’t turn a blind eye and than right before an election come in and arrest a bunch of drug users and claim your doing your job. If you just moved here you may think this is paradise. I beg to differ ask anybody who’s been here and they’ll tell you the difference and I’m not even forty years-old.

  6. Concerned says:

    I always heard Brandon Washington was not the so called “leader”, but it was infact Jerrell (spelling?) Smith that was the leader and cofounder in Palm Coast. Smith was the one going around recruiting the bloods, and actually recruited Washington. As for the leader, no. But he was definitally a menace and was doing no good for Palm Coast. Smith should be the one facing life as he’s a bigger menace than Washington. “Bloods” still are out here, there was not only 12 of them, many more, and many more to come. However, the bloods are not the ones to be concerned about now, as others such as the Latin Kings are now taking over what they started, as the “Kings” claim to be affiliates of the bloods….Palm Coast has a little bit of work to do before it’s paradise….

  7. concern citizen says:

    To anonymous i must agree i am only 34 and i grew up here in flagler all my life and i really can’t believe what this beautiful place have turned out to be. There were times when i would forget to lock my doors at night now you better get up just to make sure they are still locked. Lets face the life as we have known it is over. Wake up flagler it is nolonger something we here about it is next door.

  8. anony says:

    anybody want to ask what Meghan Smith received as punishment?????? 25 years probation. no jail time. i guess so she is white. research & find the truth. don’t believe everything you read.some get life
    and some walk away. now tell me where is the justice?

  9. John Smith says:

    Well lets just see how tough this guy is in prison where the REAL blood are enjoying life. Bet he is not going to be some leader he will be right on the bottom where he belongs. Flemming needs to keep up the gang busters and clean this county clean of this trash.

  10. Dudley Doright says:

    Should have put him on death row. Thugs like this don’t deserve anything less. And, please don’t give me that political correct crap and bleeding heart rhetoric. Lucky he did not fall in the category of use of deadly force by FLSO during his arrest. Would haved the taxpayers a lot of money if he did. Further, what is all this “General’ rank in his version of the bloods/ The Flagler County bloods could not make it through a day ofMarine Corps boot camp or SEAL training!

  11. David says:

    Good, I lived across from this SOB. Good riddance.

  12. Erick says:

    This POS deserves to die. Not life in jail. Just the look on his face shows he has no remorse for what he did. And as far as “anony’s” comment…about Smith not getting jail time because she is white…….just another thug’s output on today’s society that race is a factor. Well let me tell you “anony”….this piece of crap should be counting his blessings that he did not get the death penalty for being the menace to society he was. His parents should be really proud. Enjoy your life Brandon Washington.

  13. Anonymous says:

    First off, I think Washington’s mother died while he was in middle school and his father was left with picking up the pieces. True no excuse treat people the way you want to be treated. But when a person gives up on himself they are going to care less about you and I. That’s why I say proactive instead of reactive. Racketeering charges were not needed for this group Fl law alone would have been enough to get him on murder. The purpose of those charges is to make sure everybody gets nailed. The main players all really walked away if you have been following the story. You don’t set up robberies and hand out guns and sell drugs and kill somebody and than call 911 and not be responsible. Why wasn’t the dealer charged for selling drugs? Why wasn’t Hanzots and Smith held equally guilty? They both supplied guns. That’s the purpose of RICO charges to make sure they also pay the price. If I were the family of the dead young man I would pursue further action. You people that feel better seeing Washington go to jail because you can’t relate to to the situation better wake up because this pill epidemic in this town is going to show you the fine line between how one kid becomes a gang member/murderer and another a druggie/robber/murderer. Oh yeah, I forgot if the person looks like you “he needs help!” but if he doesn’t ” Bury him, lock him animal”… Wake up, the world has problems.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well i believe while Brandon along with all the other (KIDS) may have all done things wrong and need to be held accountable for their actions . The fact of the matter is that all of these kids grew up together went to the same, church,and school. They may have committed crimes together but to be hit with RICO is just down right ridiculous. I mean these kids first of where not organized , in any way nor where they making money that was of any substance . They where just a group of wanna be’s that all knew each-other from elementary school that where bored and did things that they should not have been doing ! Given the fact that they where black they got the short end of the stick ! Megan got to walk free(the only white one ) when in fact she was his girlfriend bagged up the drugs knew what was going on drove him to the crime scenes , and participated in the crime but yet was ror and received probation. Wake up people we have to stop putting young people away for life in these cases ! He is only 22 he could change his life around a teach other kids ! What you don’t realize is that we are going to be paying for him the rest of our life > While they want you to believe that he is a monster Brandon was in college and did have potential ! Just as much as MEGAN SMITH but he will never see the light of day and thats sad !!! The people that should be getting hit with RICO are all these Banks that have screwed up the american dream, But yet the government Bails them out where are these kids Bail out ?

  15. Art says:

    You hit the nail right on the head, and it needed to be said.

    Anonymous says:
    October 27, 2011 at 7:54 am
    When Flemming got in office the gang problem was still in it’s development stage! I’m a twenty plus year resident of this town and helplessly saw how on a daily basis the youth of the city declined. I even voiced concern to several people in law enforcement who claimed their hands were tied because of a political divide in the department meaning no communication between the city and within the agency and so on. Now look at Palm Coast, we have gang members, drug organizations using empty house’s to deal drugs, pill traffic young people with no legit income driving around to nowhere in rimmed up cars trying to show off a lavish lifestyle they can’t afford, high amount of burglaries etc. This stuff didn’t happen overnight. You can’t turn a blind eye and than right before an election come in and arrest a bunch of drug users and claim your doing your job. If you just moved here you may think this is paradise. I beg to differ ask anybody who’s been here and they’ll tell you the difference and I’m not even forty years-old.

  16. Anonymous says:

    They all seem to be in their 20s they are not KIDs they are vermon who care nothing about you or i

  17. palmcoaster says:

    I can attest to that Art.
    I remember when Fleming and his second in command reassure against all odds that we had no gangs in this county…while gangs were sprouting all around us.

  18. The Geode says:

    What? Where are the sympathizing stories about ‘a wayward kid gone wrong” that was in the OTHER story? Thank you people for VALIDATING what I said about the discrepancy of comments concerning Black and White defendants. LOL.

  19. dontbesoparanoid says:

    palmcoaster said: “I can attest to that Art.
    I remember when Fleming and his second in command reassure against all odds that we had no gangs in this county…while gangs were sprouting all around us”

    You really remember that? The Sheriff’s Office has been dealing with this issue since Fleming took office. I know that there was never a denial of gang activity. I do recall our “gang problem” being referred to as wannabe’s and the reality is that is what they are. Want to see real gang activity go to a city where real gangs are. Real gang bangers aside from committing crimes are killing each other every day in turf wars drug wars etc…..when is the last time you heard one was killed here for walking in the wrong neighborhood sporting the wrong colors? Sure we have some issues but the fact this kid had his day in court and that past operations have put numerous others in jail proves the Sheriff’s Office has and is addressing it.

    As far as waiting to do something right before an election Art, that is pretty funny. There is no control over timing when working with multiple agencies on a case. A state agency or the FBI isn’t going to say hey let’s wait so we can make the county guy look good for re-election…

  20. Anonymous says:

    Geode then tell me why Megan Smith is free she is just a guilty as Brandon ! only she got off free because she is white ! you wouldn’t know that because your ignorant ! I mean look at Lindsey Lohan she gets off every time while black rappers have to go to prison come on wake up there is a double standard that black men are a menace to society , while the majority off the problems are all these rich white pill poppers that live next to you and you think oo I am safe love my neighbors until you read about them in the paper for a pill bust or breaking into your car trying to find something to sell for some pills ! Wake up either way your going to be paying the bill for Brandon the rest of his life 3 meals,doctor, cable,water,and electric !he will be living better than most of us !

  21. palmcoaster says:

    Yes Dontbesoparanoid, I clearly remember that…I will have to go back to the news archives to copy you and that takes precious time.
    Also call my attention that all the others in this gang got of light…why? As I read over this editorial no where says that Washington killed anyone actually, the intended robbery victim Adams killed a gang member while breaking in his house.. Not I condone Washington’s crimes..but 4 life term sentence! I find it excessive. I liked Judge Zambrano ….but was any racial bias in his judgement? Can anyone clarify for us here?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Response to dontbesoparanoid:

    A Task Force of Agency’s can time how and when they execute an investigation or a bust. It’s the same way the US government does it with the different situations to gain favor for votes or to push an agenda. I guess your a “wanna be” until you kill somebody? This is the whole point, reach out before they take the first misstep when they are “wanna be’s”. The RICO statute and conspiracy charges are meant to touch the untouchable not wait for bodies to turn up here and there. Every person that grew up in the hood knows how it goes. “Let it get bad, make them need us. JOB SECURITY. Half the hard working Deputies on the force can’t explain how a known escalating criminal gets arrested 7 or 8 times and nothing happens. It starts from the top. Do your research. It’s funny how Brandon Washington can form a full blown gang in Palm Coast but a Deputy patrolling Publix doesn’t know who he is when he says “I run this town”. Come on people give me a break. If it wasn’t for the family of the deceased young man this stuff still would have been dragging on. The death of Skyler Meekins is another one. Look at the arrest record of the convicted killer of her and her boyfriend. Way too many arrest, probation violations it goes on and on. The point I’m trying to make is a lot of stuff around here could have and can be avoided, but too many people with the power to make a difference treat this place like one big science experiment. I wonder how many city wide workshops we’ve had (AS CITIZENS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT) together to combat these disturbing trends, gang’s, pills, burglarises etc. I don’t mean a neighborhood watch. One person can’t do it. Like I said before some people use these situations to their advantage in the wrong way sometimes to their benefit not to do anything. This world is going down fast but their are things we can help as a community even if it’s not in our backyard…YET!!!

  23. Art says:

    dontbesoparanoid says
    “As far as waiting to do something right before an election Art, that is pretty funny. There is no control over timing when working with multiple agencies on a case. A state agency or the FBI isn’t going to say hey let’s wait so we can make the county guy look good for re-election… ”

    Tell that to someone that does not know any better.

  24. dontbesoparanoid says:

    Palmcoaster, look up “transferred intent” that might help.

    Anonymous says: “Half the hard working Deputies on the force can’t explain how a known escalating criminal gets arrested 7 or 8 times and nothing happens”

    Maybe you should do some research as well..The deputies make the arrest they don’t control the punishment. Job security? That’s pretty funny too. The majority of our deputies live here in Palm Coast but I imagine you’re right that they don’t want a safe community in which to raise their own children….

    Art, it’s clear to me that you don’t know better.

  25. Thinkaboutit says:

    probably not so much a black/white thing, Megan likely just copped a deal first. not all of the bloods got sentences consistent with what they were arrested for, regardless of their race. what did Geezy end up with? think about the ones who just up and disappeared but aren’t serving time anywhere, whats up with that??? Think about it, they gave up whatever intel they needed to in order to make it easier on themselves.

  26. palmcoaster says:

    Dontbesoparanoid…I am all for job security specially for our deputies..I didn’t say that our deputies denied back then about gang existence in Palm Coast, I said the sheriff and also his second in command did and was only that one time as I recall and given the residents outcry about it. I also didn’t say hat this gang member alleged a boss, does to deserve to land in jail for a long time, of course he deserves it in order to keep us safe! But four life terms when his associates get a much lighter sentence
    is only why I find peculiar to say the least.

  27. Art says:

    dontbesoparanoid

    Fleming’s entire time in office has been marked by self serving propaganda to ensure re election, a distortion of the facts and the use of “smoke and mirrors” to explain away a gang and illegal drug problem that has been plaguing this community since 2004. Palmcoaster is correct, for the first two years of his administration, of which you are obviously somehow a part of, he made public statements denying the existence of gangs in Palm Coast.

    As Abraham Lincoln said “you can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time” More and more people are starting to catch on to this.

    PS the pre election drug arrests of 08 were moved ahead three months so that they would take place before the election. I will refrain from revealing the details.

  28. dontbesoparanoid says:

    Oh please do not “refrain from revealing” anything Art. I am not part of any administration but I probably know more than you do. The only propaganda I see is what I have read in your post here.
    The drug problem started in 2004? No drugs before then?

  29. Thinkaboutit says:

    ok, politics aside then, so whats the plan for wiping out the Latin Kings who have now moved in and taken over a lot, if not most of where the Bloods left off? Crips and GD’s aren’t far behind, though not quite as organized or large in numbers.

  30. dontbesoparanoid says:

    Certainly it got worse Art as the demographics began to shift. Kids sent down to live with grandma and grandpa because of the troubled life they were leading only to resume it down here. Cheap rent was also a draw.
    Blaming crime on law enforcement is like blaming a disease on a doctor. Can’t control who moves into town..for example think Goomba’s pizza. Your next door neighbor could be a murderer and no one knows until the day they decide to break the law again.
    Scary thought right? But not to worry, your sheriff’s office is not afraid to go after these people as evidenced in this case as well as the other drug sting operations.
    And if you think it is frustrating to know someone is arrested time and time again only to be out on the street think of how frustrating it is to law enforcement when they’ve invested much time in getting that person off the street only to have to deal with them again because a judge went soft or the charges are not pursued at all and the person is free to wreak more havoc on a community. It happens everywhere and the ones who lose are the good people in that community.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Reply to dontbesoparanoid: Did YOU or do YOU realize that Law Enforcement say they started these investigations and applied the RICO charges in January of 04 on this gang? Now when was the young man killed? Give me a break. Nobody got picked up until that murder in 08 0r 09. From the Sheriff to the State Attorney to the past Judges they make it happen or not. Go ask the question how or why some charges are written up differently or some crimes don’t make the news or just seem to fade away. It’s called fudging stats to make the people on top look good. And don’t tell me investigations take time.

  32. dontbesoparanoid says:

    Anonymous says: “Did YOU or do YOU realize that Law Enforcement say they started these investigations and applied the RICO charges in January of 04 on this gang?”

    wow are you off… Perhaps law enforcement did start to use RICO on gangs back in 04 but that was not here in this county and maybe not even in this state. You seem to be angry but it’s over your own misunderstanding really. As far as your comment on no one getting picked up until after the murder in 08 or 09, the Sheriff’s Office rounded up numerous players with Operation Lookout and Lookout II in 2007. I’m surprised you didn’t know that since you seem to know everything else…… and since you know everything, maybe you can tell me how previous arrest records appear if no one gets “picked up”?

  33. Anonymous says:

    response to dontbesoparanoid: Go look at the DOC website and look when all these players in this case were on paper in regards to when the so called Racketeering started.

    PAT HANTZOS 01/01/2004 CONS.TO VIO.RACKTEERING LAW 10/20/2009 FLAGLER 0801183 5Y 0M 0D

    ROBERTO BRAVO 01/04/2004 CONS.TO VIO.RACKTEERING LAW 10/22/2009 FLAGLER 0801173 5Y 0M 0D

    BIANCA DORISMOND 01/01/2004 RACKETEERING 03/24/2009 FLAGLER 0801180 5Y 0M 0D

    CHRIS KEE 01/01/2004 RACKETEERING 06/11/2010 FLAGLER 0801179 10Y 0M 0D

    there’s about 4 or 5 more of that group with same charge that I didn’t list. Just in case it still doesn’t seem clear 2004 is the offense date those later dates are when they were sentenced. Do you notice the time span in between they didn’t start rounding them up until years later. Brandon Washington wasn’t and hasn’t been charged with Racketeering.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Correction on Brandon Washington and Racketeering. He was in fact convicted for Racketeering along with the murder. But the point is look at the date when he is on Law Enforcements radar like the others and look how much time passed and the escalation of crimes before someone finally died. 2004 at a minimum. This could all have been squashed from the get go. When Brandon Washington supposedly told that Deputy ” I’m Brandon Washington I RUN this town” The Deputy should have responded; Good to know, because everywhere you RUN I’ll be right behind you! Not shrug it off and years later testify at a murder trial that he didn’t take him serious. Oh yeah, I forgot at that time if you hadn’t help vote the Sheriff into office you were kept on the outs and didn’t get briefed on the important things so he may have not known much about him.

  35. The Geode says:

    @Anonymous ….what? You’re ranting and raving like a “MAD-PERSON” who has a lot to say without making any sense at all. You bring up “Lindsay Lohan”. Who cares? You bring up “Megan Smith”. Again, who cares? You can’t comprehend my point because you’re not a regular here and have no concept of what I am referring to. I respect your opinion even though to me it sounds like the ravings of the “foil-hat” people. When it comes to crimes, EVERY race commits them and should pay the price accordingly. …Lindsay Lohan. Indeed.

  36. jimmythebull says:

    my information comes from the young adults who visit Ralph Carter Park.
    the bloods are chasing them out of the park, saying its their turf.
    free drugs were given to a pre-teen to get him hooked.
    people around the surrounding areas come for crack. there’s prostitution being conducted.
    the city wants to start a youth program , thinking this will solve the problem. do you think the bloods and users will stop and play basket ball? this is the worst city govt. i ever saw. they need to be charged for treason to the citizens. they don’t care about our safety. they’ve turned our beloved city into a ghetto.
    the city is offering $ 45,000 to people to move here. that park is giving us a bad name. its been proven the park can’t be secured, sadly, it needs to be leveled. then the drug store will no longer exist.
    everyone on my street wants out of Palm Coast , but we can’t find buyers.how can we change this if no one votes ?

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