Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that RALPH BERRY was found guilty by a unanimous Manhattan jury for the murder of Caprice Jones in the vicinity of 751 East 161 Street, Bronx, New York. BERRY will be sentenced before the Honorable U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan, who presided over the jury trial.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “In June of 2000, Caprice Jones was senselessly gunned down, the unintended victim of drug-dealer Ralph Berry and a co-defendant, who tragically missed their mark when trying to murder a rival dealer. Instead, their bullet struck Jones, who died after suffering a years-long spinal injury. This case typifies the inherent danger of the drug trade, which oftentimes leaves innocent victims in its wake. I commend the career prosecutors and agents of this Office in their partnership with the outstanding detectives of the NYPD for their determination in bringing closure in the cold case.”
According to the Indictmentand other evidence presented at trial in federal court:
In the summer of 2000, BERRY was the head of a violent drug crew that operated in the McKinley Housing Development in the Bronx, New York. On June 21, 2000, BERRY ordered one of his subordinates to shoot a rival drug dealer with whom BERRY had been feuding over drug territory. That subordinate followed BERRY’s order and fired multiple shots into a Father’s Day barbecue being held on the McKinley Houses basketball courts. Caprice Jones, an innocent bystander who was not involved in the drug dispute, was struck in the spine by one of the bullets. The gunshot injury Jones sustained that day left him paralyzed from the waist down and ultimately caused his death in November 2010, at the age of 42.
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BERRY, 54, was convicted of murder through use of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, murder in connection with a drug trafficking crime, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, and murder in aid of a racketeering enterprise, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison.
The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for information purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the New York City Police Department and the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Dominic A. Gentile, Maurene Comey, Adam S. Hobson, and Jacob R. Fiddelman are in charge of the prosecution.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of New York