A Brooklyn man who authorities described as a member of the Sex, Money, Murder street gang was sentenced to 15 years in state prison Friday for firing a handgun at a woman in Midtown Kingston in October 2014.
Ulster County Judge Donald Williams sentenced Riis “Flea” Silver, 22, to the maximum sentence allowed by law, saying that despite the advantages of a supportive well-educated family, God-given intelligence and athletic prowess and being father to “a beautiful child,” Silver chose a life of violent crime and gang involvement.
“I see people every day in this court who don’t have those gifts ... those God-given grants of intelligence, family, athleticism and a child,” said Williams. “That makes what you did more tragic. You have no excuse for your behavior.”
After a three-day trial in Ulster County Court, Silver was convicted of two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment.Authorities said Silver fired seven shots from a .40-caliber semiautomatic weapon at the vehicle of a woman with whom he had had a relationship. Although the woman wasn’t struck, the vehicle she was driving was hit five times.
The sentencing followed a hearing during which Assistant Public Defender MariAnn Connolly tried to convince Williams that Silver was not a gang member.
Asked by Williams what Silver’s “SMM” tattoo symbolized, Connolly, after conferring with her client, said “Strength, Morality, Motivation.” Testimony during trial was that the tattoo stood for Sex, “Money, Murder.”
Williams also asked what the Silver’s five-pointed crown tattoo signified. Although the tattoo is known to be the symbol of the Latin Kings street gang, Connolly said her client indicated it stood for “King of Basketball. King of Brooklyn.
Connolly also said Silver didn’t recall filing a form with the Ulster County Jail indicating that he was affiliated with the Bloods.
Williams, though wasn’t buying it.
“You are clearly a member of the Sex, Money, Murder subset of the Bloods street gang,” said Williams.
He said Silver fired at the woman because “she was dissing you in front of your friends, probably your fellow gang members.”
He said the woman confronted Silver about stealing money that she had set aside for rent and “she embarrassed you, dissed you, humiliated you and your street cred.”
William said that when Silver was asked why he shot at the woman, Silver responded, “it’s a cold world.”
“It’s a cold world, sir, and you’re going to get a real flavor of that today,” Williams said.
On July 15, 2015, Silver pleaded guilty in Delaware to heroin sales and weapons possession. He was serving a four-year sentence on those charges when he was extradited to New York in September to face charges in Kingston.