Judge sentences gang member Christian Oliver to 9 years
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
A 19-year-old member of a gang that was involved in a violent melee in the parking lot of a city school that was recorded and uploaded to YouTube will spend several years behind bars.
Christian Oliver, 19, of East Delason Avenue, was on trial before a jury in the courtroom of Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court last week.
The jury found him guilty of illegal conveyance of items onto the grounds of a detention facility, possession of cocaine, perjury and taking part in a criminal gang.
Martin Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor, said Oliver is a member of the Boss Boys Squad, a gang of about 25 people operating on the city’s South Side.
Oliver appeared for sentencing Friday. Judge Evans handed down a nine-year sentence on the four felony charges.
Oliver had been on probation for a theft conviction earlier this year.
Desmond said the sentence should send a clear message to others involved in gang activity in the city.
“We want to try to send a message to these gangbangers that this has got to stop. We will not tolerate this activity anymore,” he said.
Desmond said Oliver is a member of the gang, but prosecutors also plan to take the gang leader to trial in February. Terrence Sly is charged with participating in a criminal gang, possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence.
Sly has a previous drug conviction from 2009. He was sentenced to two years’ probation in that matter, but violated his probation this year.
The Boss Boys gained notoriety and attention from police when they were involved in a fight with a rival gang in the parking lot of Taft Elementary School on the South Side.
A YouTube video showing the fight was posted on the police department’s Facebook page.
The video shows a shirtless teen wearing black shorts fighting another teen. Multiple observers stood nearby, with several taking video. The video shows chaos eventually erupting, with multiple simultaneous fights occurring.
Police said the fight was not a staged event, but arose spontaneously between two groups that had a dispute over use of a basketball court.