Newport News ‘Thug Relations’ gang members sentenced to life in prison

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Two brothers who were members of the local street gang “Thug Relations” were both sentenced Thursday to life in prison.

Herbert Pridgen

Herbert Pridgen

Their sentence is for their roles in multiple murders and robberies, in addition to other crimes related to their criminal enterprise, the Department of Justice said.

33-year-old Eric Pridgen, aka “Rabbit’, and 29-year-old Herbert Pridgen, aka “Bok”, along with co-conspirator 33-year-old Maurice McClain were convicted by a federal jury of four VICAR murders, Hobbs Act robbery violations, felon in possession charges, and use of a firearm resulting in murder.

Eric Pridgen

Eric Pridgen

One of the felon in possession charges was related to the murder of an innocent woman, Gale Perch, who was killed on November 15, 2009.

Perch was in a car with the intended murder victim.

According to court documents “Thug Relations” was a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence, including five murders, numerous drug robberies, and shootings.

The jury convicted the three defendants of racketeering conspiracy with special verdicts on four separate murders; the murder of Aaron Sumler, on July 5, 2007; Lafayette Bailey on Dec. 15, 2009; Lloyd Robinson on Jan. 9, 2010; and Dominque Wharton on March 16, 2010.

Three other defendants, Douglas Ashby, Robbie Bowles and Antonio Johnson were charged in the same indictment, but pleaded guilty prior to trial.

Both Eric and Herbert Pridgen faced a mandatory life sentence following their convictions on the murder in aid of racketeering charges.

Maurice Mclain faces a maximum penalty of up to life in prison based on the special verdict form returned regarding the murder of Aaron Sumler.