Top 10 Most Outrageous Crack Cocaine Sentences
Selected by Veda Ajamu, founder of the Crack Lifer Project
No. 1 Robert Shipp
Age: 42. Sentenced served: 21 years. Release date: Death.
Robert graduated at the top of his high school class. His inability to cope with his eldest brother’s brutal murder sent him into a tailspin. He was involved in a drug conspiracy for only 5 months. Robert’s daughter was two years old when he went to prison. She has experienced the familiar pitfalls of being a fatherless child and is now a single mother of three. Robert’s father died unexpectedly in July 2012 with an unending hope of his son’s freedom. Read more…
No. 2 Sharanda Jones
Age: 47. Sentence served: 15 years. Release date: Death
When Sharanda was a young girl her mother was paralyzed in a terrible car accident. Over time, Sharanda increasingly felt the pressure and financial burden of providing for her mother and younger siblings. Her mother died in December 2012. Sharanda’s daughter, Clenesha, was eight years old when her mom went to prison. Today, Clenesha, all grown up, is mother’s her #1 advocate. Read more…
No. 3 Tadd Vassell
Age: 41. Sentence served: 17 years. Release date: Death.
Tadd was raised by a single mother and didn’t have a male role model. He was fascinated by men in his neighborhood that were older than him because they had things he didn’t have— lots of money and material things. They became his mentor and taught him how to deal drugs. He was arrested at age 18 and sentenced to die in prison. Read more…
No. 4 Michael Fitzgerald Wilson
Age: 50. Sentence served: 20 years. Release date: Death.
Michael went from being a business owner to a federal prisoner. His three sons were three, four and six years old when he went to prison. In 2011, Michael had a stroke, causing serious health issues, including a permanent speech impairment. President Clinton commuted his co-conspirator’s sentence in 2001. Read more…
No. 5 Donald B.W. Evans
Age: 50. Sentence served: 24 years. Release date: Death.
Making his family proud, Donald graduated from community college and was accepted into the prestigious University of California Berkeley. Unfortunately, he began hanging with the wrong crowd and dropped out of school. Donald never thought that his poor choices of friends would cause him to trade his college textbooks in for prison law books. Read more…
No. 6 Douglas Ray Dunkins Jr.
Age: 49. Sentence served: 22 years. Release date: Death.
There were no drugs seized in Douglas’s case. However the testimonies of co-conspirators negotiating for a lesser sentence led to his conviction and, at age 26, he was sentenced to life without parole. His three daughters were one, five and six 6 when he went to prison. Douglas’s mother has Stage 4 cancer and is praying that she sees her son free. His father has died during his son’s incarceration. Read more…
No. 6 Teresa Mechell Griffin
Age: 48. Sentence served: 22 years. Release date: Death.
Teresa was a drug mule for her abusive boyfriend. She was pregnant with their second child when she was arrested. He threatened to take her life and children from her if she left him. As with many abused women, Teresa stayed with her abuser out of fear. She had no idea that when she chose to stay that her life would still be taken, — but by the courts and her children would be cared for by someone else. Read more…
No. 8 Jesse Webster
Age: 47. Sentenced served: 20 years. Release date: Death.
Jesse worked at a carwash for lunch money and bus fare for school. A customer/drug dealer approached him at work and asked him to be his driver. Impressed by the amount of money he would make, Jesse jumped at the opportunity. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade and started on a slippery slope of destruction that led to prison. His daughter was 5 years old when he went to prison. “I should have done time, but a living death sentence?” he told The New York Times. Read more…
No. 9 Michael Palmer
Age: 52. Sentenced served: 25 years. Release date: Death.
Michael’s youngest daughter was born 7 days after her father was convicted. Today, that daughter, Taylor, on right in photo, is completing her medical residency and dreams of her father attending her 2016 medical school graduation. His older daughter, Yani, a toddler when her father went away, is on her way to a Bachelor’s of Science degree. And his wife, a heroic single mom who worked tirelessly to raise two amazing children, is struggling from Stage 3 breast cancer. Read more…
No. 10 Too Many Others
Offense: Crack. Race: Black. Release date: Death.
Crack cocaine is not pharmacologically different from powder cocaine, but it is punished more severely for a reason that shames the nation: it sold mostly by blacks.
In 2013, crack offenders were:
- 83% black.
- 10% Hispanic.
- 6% white.
- 1% other, such as Native American.