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Stabbing Death of Eddy Guzman in 2016 Yields 13 Year Sentence For Dilone From the Bronx to Atlanta

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Photos

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 25 -- Merlin Dilone got an above-guidelines sentence of 156 months in prison on October 25, in a courtroom half filled with his supporters and half those of his victim, Eddy Guzman. Dilone was described as a member of a Bronx drug trafficking organization. In between the groups were Court Security Officers; in the back of the courtroom was Inner City Press.

  U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick asked about the specifics of Guzman's death, and the role of Dilone's cousin Cesar. The government's sentencing submission is replete with security photographs before and after the stabbing, with Cesar in a red hat and Dilone in a black sweater. Then red is everywhere.

   Judge Broderick is not known for above-guidelines sentences. But in this case, with the guidelines at 108 to 135 months and Probation recommending 168, he imposed a sentence of 156 months or 13 years. It will be served in Atlanta, where part of Dilone's family lives. His mother, it was said, moved from The Bronx to Florida feeling the threat of retaliation. The case is US v. Dilone, 17-cr-707 (Broderick).

From a charged conspiracy a block away: On July 10 Willie Reeves who was portrayed watching the murder as part of the 240 E. 175 St drug conspiracy came up for sentencing.

  Defense attorney Aaron M. Goldsmith spoke with family and friends of Reeves out in hall while U.S. District Court for the Southern District Judge William H. Pauley III finished up with a defendant describes as clearing up matters in The Bronx whom Judge Pauley advised to look for a job in an economy he described as thriving.

  As Inner City Press jotted this line down Reeves family members filed in. Taking detailed notes no longer seemed appropriate. They listened as Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Balsamello described Reeves as merely watching the murder of Harris who had come to visit him. A family member next to Inner City Press shook her head vehemently.

  When it was Reeves' turn to speak he was understandably shook up, facing up to 108 months in prison. He first called Judge Pauley Mister Goldsmith, then Mister Pauley Three.

Ultimately Goldsmith who had emphasized his work as a barber in the MCC and MDS read the statement, while alluding to but not requesting a Fatico hearing on whether it was proper to punish a defendant like Reeves who had pled guilty but declined to cooperate.

  Judge Pauley got the family's attention by acknowledging that Reeves' brother had been killed. He went on to say that Reeves' list of accomplishments was thin. He called the government's exhibit of synchronized video of the shootings, apparently never uploaded or distributed to the media by the U.S. Attorney's office despite a Press request, the most riveting he has seen in 21 years on the bench, and the most troubling, that no one helped.

Judge Pauley imposed a sentence on Reeves at the lower end of the guidelines: 87 months with five years of supervised release.

Reeves said he wants to be a community organizer. Inner City Press will continue covering this Felton, Reeves, et al case, and the related cases before SDNY Judge Loretta Preska, in which it appears that a sealed sentencing was held on July 9, at least with the duo of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. Watch this site.

Back on June 19 in the culmination of the one week jury trial of James Felton, accused among other things of killing Marvin Harris on the corner of 175th Street and Monroe Avenue in The Bronx on June 11, 2016, the jury delivered guilty verdicts on all twelve counts.

   Inner City Press asked Felton's defense lawyer if he will work on the sentencing submission. He replied that there is a mandatory minimum life sentence. Still, Judge Pauley III has set the sentencing for October 4.

  After the verdict was read out, guilty after guilty, James Felton looked back at a half dozen people in the gallery throughout the trial, and pointed at his heart. Judge Pauley said to him, It must be a difficult day for you. Then Judge Pauley went to speak with the jurors.

 Earlier on June 19, the jury passed out notes requesting a chart of drug sales, some of the video of the Harris murder, Ezekiel Burley's testimony on the Harris murder, and Facebook postings of defendant James Felton.

  Defense counsel had objected to the indictment being sent in to the jury, and wanted to make a Rule 29 motion. James Felton, smaller than both of his lawyers, glanced around at the Bronxites in the gallery. It was down to the small strokes.

Back on June 18 in the government's summation, Assistant US Attorney Frank J. Balsemello said that James Felton "is a cold blooded murderer." He described how James Felton provided muscle, or gun play, to allow his younger relatives to sell crack in 240 East 175th Street, adding that it was lucrative because it was so near the rehab center PROMESA -- who as Inner City Press long ago reported had its bookkeeper shot and killed on East Tremont Avenue.

  Balsemello's multi-media presentation used audio from prison phone calls ("you have one minute remaining") and pole camera footage of the whole gang dealing drugs to those PROMESA customers. The jury perked up at the complaints of a resident of 240, about having to go to work walking past all these guys - and a lone female, Ginger a/k/a George - dealing crack.

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