Douglas Battle sentenced to 20 years in death of fellow gang member

A senseless dispute between gang members ended one man’s life and will put another one in prison for several decades.

Douglas Battle, 23, will spend 20 years in prison after he was sentenced for the June 2012 shooting death of Wilfredo Rivera, a fellow member of the Sex Money sect of the notorious Bloods street gang. He must serve 17 years before he is eligible for parole.

Battle pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in August for shooting Rivera at the Roger Gardens housing complex on Hoffman Avenue. The plea deal also required him to admit guilt to assault for attacking a Mercer County Corrections officer days after he was brought into custody. Judge Robert Billmeier imposed a five-year sentence on the assault, which will be served concurrently.

Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley said the dispute between the gang members arose out of a lack of respect. Rivera’s cousin, Chantel Ray, spoke at the sentencing, but had to be hauled out of the courtroom by marshals shortly after Battle told Judge Robert Billmeier he hadn’t intended to kill Rivera. “You’re a liar,” Ray said.

Ray could be heard crying hysterically in the hallway. Inside, Battle continued addressing the court after she was led away. “I feel bad I killed him,” he said. “It wasn’t intentional.”

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