A man’s family followed his accused kidnappers’ demands by dropping off a ransom payment. Then, his body was found zip-tied in an alley, federal prosecutors said.
Andre Simmons Jr., 28, of Bowie, Maryland, was killed about an hour after his family paid the $7,000 ransom the morning of June 20, 2018, according to prosecutors.
Simmons was shot 19 times, with his hands bound by zip-ties, in an alley in Washington, D.C., after his abduction in Bowie, prosecutors said.
In the case’s latest development, four men, Darin Moore Jr., 29, of Bowie and Gabriel Brown, 33, John Sweeney, 29, and James Taylor, 33, of Washington, D.C., were sentenced to life in prison on charges of kidnapping resulting in death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced in a May 12 news release.
Moore, Brown and Sweeney were also sentenced to 45 years in prison on counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, first degree premeditated murder and felony murder, officials said. Taylor was sentenced to 45 years in prison on a charge of felony murder, according to prosecutors.
All men have been in federal custody since their arrests in 2018 and 2019, the release said.
McClatchy News contacted attorneys representing the men for comment on May 15 and didn’t immediately receive a response.
The case dates to May 2018, when Moore, Brown, Taylor and Sweeney planned on targeting Simmons “and his associates for robberies,” court documents show.
On the evening of June 19, they abducted Simmons near his mother’s home in Bowie after learning of his whereabouts, according to court documents.
A search of Moore’s iCloud account showed photos of Simmons’ social media, photos of Simmons’ family’s home and photos of Simmons’ associate’s car, according to a sentencing memo submitted by the government for Moore.
Moore and Sweeney found Simmons riding on a scooter before ramming into him with Moore’s car, the sentencing memo says.
Then, the pair pistol-whipped Simmons, bound his hands with zip ties and kidnapped him by forcing him into the car, according to the sentencing memo.
Over the next few hours, Taylor’s phone was used to call and demand ransom payments from Simmons’ family, prosecutors said.
During the early morning of June 20, Simmons’ family dropped off a $7,000 payment to a location chosen by the men before Brown picked up the money, according to prosecutors.
Just before 6:30 a.m., the four men shot Simmons to death and left his body in an alley in Washington, D.C., prosecutors said.
Shotspotter, a system used for gunshot detection, detected 19 gunshots in the alley where Simmons was found by police and pronounced dead, according to the sentencing memo.
After the shooting, the men divided up the $7,000 payment from Simmons’ family during a meeting in Capitol Heights, Maryland, according to officials.
Moore was arrested the day Simmons was killed, prosecutors said. Brown was arrested a week later on June 27 and Taylor was arrested on Aug. 17, according to officials. Authorities arrested Sweeney on Jan. 14, 2019, the release said.
All four men were found guilty of charges related to the kidnapping on Nov. 1, according to prosecutors.
Bowie is about 20 miles northeast of D.C.
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