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For Release:   May 17, 2010
For media inquiries only, contact: Brian J. Gottstein
Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
Phone: 804-786-5874

Crip Gang Member Pleads Guilty in Augusta County on Multiple Counts of Attempted Murder

RICHMOND (May 17, 2010) – A Crip gang member pled guilty Friday on multiple counts of attempted murder and felony gang participation in Augusta County.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today the guilty plea of James Edward Breckenridge of Stuarts Draft to felony gang participation, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, two counts of shooting at an occupied dwelling, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

In November, Breckenridge and another individual, both members of the Crips Criminal Street gang, feared that they were being set up by the WASP drug and gang task force after they received a call from an individual seeking to purchase marijuana.  Breckenridge obtained an AK-47 rifle and proceeded to the home of the prospective purchaser’s grandmother in Stuarts Draft.  As they drove by, the other individual shot multiple times at the home, resulting in one bullet hole eight inches above the woman’s head as she lay sleeping. Breckenridge complained that the other individual’s rate of fire was excessively slow and took the gun and shot at another house. 

The two men then proceeded to the home of a friend where they were observed wearing blue bandanas, a sign of Crips membership, and were shouting “Clat-t-t-t-t-t-t-t,” the Crips’ “war cry.”

“We are doing everything we can to get these violent predators out of our communities and into jails,” said Cuccinelli, who runs a unit of gang prosecutors – the Special Prosecutions and Organized Crime (SPOC) section – out of his office.

SPOC attorney and Assistant Attorney General Phil Figura prosecuted Breckenridge in 2007 as a part of Operation Vampire, a multi-agency anti-gang operation that resulted in 64 indictments and 132 years of active penitentiary time for known gang members and their close associates in the Shenandoah Valley. Breckenridge was convicted of distributing marijuana and sentenced to serve 25 years in the penitentiary with an active sentence of one year and four months. 

Breckenridge pled guilty Friday to all of the November charges in Augusta County Circuit Court. His sentencing is scheduled for August 26.  He faces a maximum sentence of 58 years on his seven charges.

“This is an example of how diligent police work, along with successful prosecution from the local commonwealth’s attorney’s office and the attorney general’s office can remove serious threats from our community.  Our citizens cannot, nor should they, tolerate this type of total disregard for life,” said Augusta County Sheriff Randy Fisher.

“We have seen with some concern the spread of gang activity from surrounding jurisdictions into Augusta County. We look forward to prosecuting these cases vigorously,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Robin Boylan.

Boylan and Figura jointly prosecuted the case.

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