On Wednesday morning at Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in New York City, a second defendant was sentenced in the ongoing Daniel "6ix9ine" Hernandez racketeering case, receiving 62 months in prison.
Faheem "Crippy" Walter was sentenced after pleading guilty this past spring to two counts stemming from his participation in an April 3, 2018 armed robbery in midtown Manhattan. (His co-defendant Jesnel Butler received a 60 month sentence this past July for his role in the incident). Items taken during that robbery were found at 6ix9ine's apartment last fall. In addition, the robbery itself was videotaped (reportedly by 6ix9ine himself), and the footage was widely shared.
Walter admitted to participating in the robbery, and to brandishing a firearm during it. He did not, the government clarified, use the gun during the robbery. Instead, he took it afterwards from 6ix9ine, who had received it from his then-manager Kifano "Shotti" Jordan.
Assistant United States Attorney Michael Longyear told the court on Wednesday that, when it came to the activities of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, a gang many of the defendants in the case have admitted belonging to, the government viewed Walter as being "on the lower end in terms of leadership and decision making." Walter, who is not a Nine Trey member, was "brought in" to the gang's orbit through Jordan as "more of an enforcer," the AUSA continued.
"He wishes he never met Mr. Hernandez."
In addition to the April robbery, the government contended that Walter was present during a shooting later that same month at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, and that he was involved in a Jordan-ordered July 2018 shooting in Smurf Village, Brooklyn. Walter was also present, along with Jordan, during an October 2018 incident outside Phillipe Chow restaurant in Manhattan. During that fight, which occurred after a meeting between 6ix9ine and his label head Elliot Grainge, Walter was shot in the stomach by one of Grainge's bodyguards. Longyear painted Walter as Jordan's "right-hand man" throughout their time together. The AUSA explained that the government had a recording of Walter, made by a confidential witness, in which Walter said that he regularly carried a gun for Nine Trey.
Longyear also pointed out that this June, while incarcerated, Walter had used a contraband phone to go on Instagram Live.
"He's in his jail cell, and he's on Instagram?" the judge asked incredulously.
When it was his turn to speak, Walter's lawyer Edward Sapone emphasized that his client had been seriously injured in the Phillipe Chow incident, which left him with a colostomy bag. Walter, who was held for part of the time at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center, suffered greatly during that facility's blackout this past winter.
"He sat in the dark for days," Sapone told the judge. "He was defecating in a colostomy bag and he couldn't change it. He has suffered enough." And when it came to Walter's famous co-defendant, 6ix9ine, "He wishes he never met Mr. Hernandez."
Walter was contrite. He apologized to his victims, his family, and his children. "I acted against my better judgment and I know I was wrong," he said. "I'll never do anything to hurt anyone again."
A gallery of about a dozen friends and family members watched Judge Paul Engelmayer deliver the 62 month sentence, which was just over the mandatory minimum of 60 months, and less time than the 68-74 month range government was advocating for. The sentence will be accompanied by three years of supervised release.
"I'm very grateful for the sentencing," Walter's sister Mattaniah said afterwards. "Judge Engelmayer did very well."
Sapone agreed. If his client remained on good behavior, the lawyer explained, he could be out in around three years. The lawyer spoke highly of Walter, saying, "He is a man deserving of the leniency the judge showed today. I'm very happy for him because today he walked out of court knowing people do care and that people are willing to help, and this judge demonstrated that."
Sapone also had kind words for Judge Engelmayer: "He fashioned a sentence that for him must have been difficult, because judges want to send a message to the community that gang violence is not to be tolerated, and that large sentences are going to come out of this building when we deal with gangs, guns, violence, robberies... What Judge Engelmayer did today was, he showed us he was hardworking; he was thoughtful. He considered the whole sentencing statute, and he imposed a sentence that was entirely fair and showed the most important thing, which was mercy. It was a merciful sentence, and we very much appreciate what he did."
Trial begins on September 9 for two remaining defendants in the case who have not plead guilty, Anthony "Harv" Ellison and Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack.