U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of California
Northern District of California
For Immediate Release
December 20, 2010
Melinda Haag, United States Attorney
Contact: Jack Gillund
Third Defendant Sentenced in Case Involving Shots Fired at East Palo Alto Police Officer
Defendant Admitted to Conspiracy to Tamper With Federal Witness
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Lavar Reid, Jr., who pleaded guilty on Oct. 6, 2010, to conspiracy to tamper with a witness, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge James Ware to 24 months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The charges stem from the investigation into shots fired at a uniformed East Palo Alto police officer on Sept. 18, 2005.
Reid was indicted on Sept. 15, 2010, and charged, along with co-defendants Maurice Hodge, Homer Harris, and Floyd Jackson, with conspiracy to tamper with a witness, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(k), 1512(a)(2)(C), and 1512(b)(3); and conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1513(f), 1513(b)(2), and 1513(e). Hodge was also charged with felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(g), possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).
According to the plea agreement of Jamaine Barnes in a related case, on Sept. 18, 2005, an East Palo Alto police officer, who was in full uniform driving a marked police vehicle, attempted to make a traffic stop. The suspects refused to yield and instead drove away at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. During the chase, occupants of the fleeing vehicle, owned by Hodge, fired multiple gunshots at the pursuing police vehicle. The shots were fired from two firearms, a 9mm and a .40 caliber, hitting the police car twice. Fortunately, the officer was uninjured.
Hodge was arrested a week later in a motel room in Sunnyvale, where he was found to be in possession of crack cocaine and a .40 caliber pistol that was one of two firearms used in the police shooting. Hodge admitted in his plea agreement that he conspired with Reid, Jackson, and Harris to retaliate against a person he believed had informed the police of his whereabouts. Government counsel advised the court at sentencing that Hodge and his co-defendants are associated with the
G-Town and Taliban street gangs.
Hodge was sentenced on Nov. 10, 2010, to a 10-year prison term, which was ordered to run consecutively to a 16-year state sentence he is already serving for armed robbery and drug trafficking.
In the related case referenced above, Barnes pleaded guilty on Nov.23, 2009, and June 18, 2010, before Judge Ware to perjury and harboring a fugitive, respectively. Those charges, according to Barnes’ admissions in court, were based on his efforts to hide Hodge by allowing him to use a motel room that Barnes had fraudulently obtained, and also lying to the grand jury about his relationship with Hodge. Barnes was sentenced by Judge Ware in two separate proceedings to a total of 37 months imprisonment. Barnes was also convicted in state court of defrauding the American Red Cross by obtaining the motel rooms fraudulently by posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim.
Harris remains a fugitive, charged with conspiring with Hodge and others to tamper with and retaliate against witnesses. Anyone having knowledge of Harris’s whereabouts is asked to contact East Palo Alto Detective Angel Sanchez at 650-464-6837or Sgt. Jeff Liu 650-353-8506.
Jackson was murdered in January, 2010. His body was found on the shoulder of Interstate 580 in Richmond, Calif.
According to the East Palo Alto Police Department and the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, the attempted murder case concerning the East Palo Alto officer remains an open and continuing investigation.
Thomas O’Connell and Daniel Kaleba are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Nina Williams and Tracey Anderson. The prosecution is the result of a continuing joint investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the East Palo Alto Police Department; and the Menlo Park Police Department.
Case #: CR-10-00320- JW
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by e-mail at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.