Ultimately, he sealed his fate with his own bragging — about drive-by shootings and other gang violence.
Nykees Earl Campbell wanted to rap about what was real. So he posted rantings in rap videos on YouTube and Facebook Live about his violent war with a rival gang, which played out with deadly consequences on the streets of Dallas.
It was exactly what prosecutors needed in their bid to give Campbell serious federal prison time. They say they matched up his words with actual crimes, including an ambush robbery in which he allegedly shot a man eight times while he was asleep in bed.
Campbell, 20, of Dallas hasn’t been charged with those crimes, although he remains a suspect. But U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn on Wednesday said the evidence prompted her to sentence Campbell, leader of the YNB Stretch Gang in South Dallas, to 12 years in federal prison.
The sentence stems from Campbell’s guilty plea in February to a charge of distributing cocaine. Campbell, who has no criminal history, was initially facing almost six years in prison.
But Lynn granted Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert’s request for an enhanced prison term due to Campbell’s alleged violent gang activities – documented in his own videos that were played during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
The case reflects a growing trend in which social media-savvy criminals have taken to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to sing, rant and write about their misdeeds. Prosecutors in Dallas and nationwide have used such videos and postings as a road map to solving crime.
Lynn said she rarely grants requests for punishment above the sentencing guidelines, but told Campbell that much of the information she relied on “came out of your mouth.” She said the evidence shows that he shot someone multiple times while he slept.
“You’re bragging about shooting a person,” Lynn said. “It’s violence times 10 at every phase.”
Innocent bystanders, including a 6-year-old girl, were shot as gang members sprayed bullets indiscriminately in public, according to testimony Wednesday.
Another YNB victim, a rival gang member, was followed as he drove from his neighborhood and then attacked on U.S. 175 by another car, whose occupant sprayed bullets at him on a Sunday afternoon, Calvert said. He was shot in the neck but survived.
Lynn called such accounts “chilling” and said Campbell is a danger to the community.
“I’m not punishing you for making rap videos,” Lynn said, adding that his rap lyrics provided her with some insight into his mindset.
Campbell, known as “NaNa” and “Ny-Nizzle,” and his fellow YNB gang members remain suspects in several murders, Eric Barnes, a Dallas police homicide detective, said during testimony Wednesday.
When Campbell was arrested in November, the gang’s violent activities in Dallas immediately stopped, Barnes said. Thirteen others with ties to YNB also were charged in the indictment with drug and gun offenses. Some have already been sentenced.
Campbell’s attorney, Dianne Jones McVay, said the government tried to blame her client for crimes Dallas police have been unable to solve.
“My client is guilty of rapping,” she said. “They can’t prove their murders … but they want to blame my client for all of them.”
SOURCE: Kevin Krause