More on Donatello Fenner and the YGF
The shooting death of 22-year-old Donatello Fenner (left), a reputed gang leader, has sparked safety concerns in Charles Village and fear of retribution by police. Fenner, who was shot in an alley behind a school in the 2600 block of N. Calvert St., had long been on police radar as a "catalyst for violence" in the nearby Barclay neighborhood and in late 2008 was charged with attempted murder. We've obtained charging documents from that case that shed more light on the ongoing violence police believe Fenner was involved with, as we try to determine why his case was dropped in court. It's cliche to say this, but the allegations in the case read like they're right out of a script for "The Wire." Quiet, intimate, chilling.
Police accused Fenner was being involved in a "gang-sanctioned hit" ordered by members of the Young Gorilla/Guerrilla Family and Black Guerrilla Family in May 2008. Charging documents outline how the victim, Neal Davis, was hanging out with someone outside a home referred to as the "Honeycomb Hideout" by members of the BGF and YGF, when the man went inside. Another man, known to him as "Jay," asked to speak with him and ushered him down an alley in the 2200 block of Barclay St.
"Not realizing what was happening [Davis] walked with Jay down the alley and stopped just short of the part that has no lighting, next to a parked truck," Detective Dawnyell Taylor, then of the Eastern District detectives unit and now with homicide, wrote in charging documents. "Jay began to ask him what he had spoken to the police about and what he said to them concerning Jay and other BGF and YGF members. The victim, confused, began to dispute ever speaking with police. As Jay continued with his allegation to the victim, he noted that Jay would not stand directly in front of him, but off to the side. It was at this time that the victim saw out of the corner of his eye a figure come from the rear yard of 2200 Barclay Street."
"The victim stated he got a funny feeling and began to try to make out who the figure was and where it had gone. It was at this moment that the figure stepped from beside a parked vehicle and pointed the gun directly at his head and began to fire. The first bullet grazed the victim in the left temple. The person identified as Jay simply stepped aside and the victim began to run out of the alley but not before he was struck twice by bullets."
As luck would have it, Davis' brother was nearby and saw him collapse, and took him to Johns Hopkins Hospital. He survived.
Taylor wrote that the shooting was a gang-sanctioned hit, ordered because Davis had testified in a homicide that occurred in August 2000 in the 2100 block of Barclay St. In July 2003, the suspect in that case was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Taylor said Fenner was "observed leading the gang meeting discussing the sanction against the victim in futherance of this gang conspiracy." Police searched his home, in the 1400 block of Gorsuch Ave., and recovered a .22 caliber revolver, five .22 caliber rounds, and four .38 caliber rounds. Fenner was among at least six people who were charged.
In August 2009, the charges against Fenner and several others were dropped. Jermaine Johnson, who is identified in court papers as "Jay," and Kenneth Jones, who is accused of firing the shots, is scheduled to go to trial April 21 on charges of conspiracy to commit first degree murder.