On Thursday, Roland “Ro Murda” Martin received a last-minute break from Judge Paul Engelmayer while being sentenced in the 6ix9ine-related Nine Trey racketeering case. In a sentencing hearing at Manhattan’s Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, the judge explained that in light of a vicious attack on Martin by fellow inmates last May in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, he was knocking the former high-ranking Nine Trey Gangsta Blood member’s sentence down from 90 months to 66. 

Martin, who pleaded guilty to racketeering this past June, was attacked by fellow MDC inmates on May 30, 2019—just a week after he publicly resigned from Nine Trey in front of other prisoners, including some members of the Bloods. Martin’s attorney Maxwell Bryer linked the two incidents, saying Martin was stabbed because of his decision to renounce the gang. Martin nearly died, and spent a week shuttling between hospitals in the attack’s aftermath. During the sentencing hearing, he called the incident “the most terrifying experience of my life.”

Assistant United States Attorney Michael Longyear explained to the court that Martin was “one of the highest-ranking members of Nine Trey.” He attained the rank of “high 020” in the gang’s hierarchy, one step below the top. Upon finishing a nine-year prison bid in early 2018, Martin joined the slew of Nine Trey members around 6ix9ine. He took part in a number of violent incidents, including a daytime armed robbery of an artist from J. Prince’s Rap-A-Lot Records in Times Square just two months after coming home, and a shooting at the Barclays Center several weeks after that. There was an additional shooting at Frenchie BSM in March 2018 that Ro was on his way to take part in, but he turned back before it happened for fear of violating his probation for being out past curfew.

At the sentencing hearing, Bryer asked the judge to downgrade his client’s sentence to time served from a recommended range of 77 to 96 months, saying Martin’s renunciation meant he was in serious danger.

“He has to live with the consequences [of renouncing the gang],” Bryer said of Martin, explaining the act will have the result of “exposing him to further harm.” 

“I left that life behind me,” Martin told the court when he had his turn to speak. “I publicly resigned from Nine Trey and paid the price for it. I know I have made mistakes, but I’m not a lost cause.”

“I know I have made mistakes, but I'm not a lost cause.” - Roland “Ro Murda” Martin

In turning down Bryer’s time served request, Judge Engelmayer took time to point out the harm the gang Martin joined had caused. 

“It is clear that Nine Trey was a toxic influence on, at the very least, our city,” Engelmayer said, bringing up the gang’s history of dealing heroin, as laid out in this case’s recent trial

The judge also brought up Martin’s own extensive criminal history: 10 arrests and eight convictions from 1998 through last year. 

“You had a long and varied criminal history before joining up with Nine Trey,” the judge continued. “None of those brushes with criminal law deterred you. You ran with Nine Trey as a full-grown married man in your mid-30s. With or without Nine Trey, you have a history of crime and violence.” 

But, Engelmayer continued, he was impressed with Martin’s guilty plea and the fact that he turned away from Nine Trey. The judge also said that he hoped Martin’s “charisma and leadership” could be put to more productive use. 

“I see a lot of potential in you,” Engelmayer closed, addressing Martin directly. “I hope you learn from this tour in prison the lessons you didn’t learn the last time.”

One of Martin’s nephews, who refused to give his name, only had one thing to say afterwards. “Free Ro Murda,” he exclaimed.