For Immediate Release
Peoria Man Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison for Attempting To Obstruct Trial of Peoria Gang Members
PEORIA, Ill. – Last week, U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced Demoney T. Coleman, 22, of Peoria, Ill., to more than three years (37 months) in federal prison for trying to obstruct the trial of members of the Bomb Squad, a Peoria street gang, in late 2019. Coleman pleaded guilty in December 2020, to criminal contempt after he disobeyed multiple court orders during the Bomb Squad trial, in November 2019, by refusing to answer questions by government attorneys but voluntarily answered all questions posed by defense counsel.
Coleman, who was identified as a member of a rival gang, was called as a government witness because he had previously given information to law enforcement regarding multiple shootings involving Bomb Squad members. To ensure Coleman was able to testify fully and truthfully, Coleman was given immunity from prosecution for anything self-incriminating he may testify to while under oath at trial. Despite Coleman having this immunity, he chose to only answer questions from defense counsel and refused to answer questions from the government.
The 37-month sentence is to be served consecutive to a 72-month sentence Coleman received on March 12, 2021, for possession of a semi-automatic handgun by a felon in October 2018.
Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas J. Quivey stated: “To reduce ongoing gun violence in our neighborhoods it is essential that witnesses come forward and tell police what they know. Witnesses, however, cannot play games and must be truthful and complete. Coleman’s prosecution and sentence serves as an important reminder that criminal trials must be fair to both the prosecution and the defense and that obeying court orders is not optional.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Peoria Police Department, and the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas F. McMeyer represented the government in the case prosecution.