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Bronxite Escaped From Halfway House Then Armed Robbery on 175 Street Now 92 Months in Fort Dix

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 24 – When Matthew Sprull came to be sentenced for his role in an armed robbery on Walton Avenue in The Bronx while on the lam from a half-way house there, it was preceded by a technical legal argument about the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

   As argued by Daniel Habib of the Federal Defenders, Sprull was and is not a career offender because conpiracies are not "specifically enumerated" as a predicate for career offender status. While Sprull at first won on the legal issues before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel, on the substance of sentencing things took a different turn.

  Sprull had family members and friends and his five year old daughter in the gallery. He said he was sorry for his bad judgment and asked for a second chance.

 Judge Castel then read out loud Sprull's previous request for just this, when he was sentenced to 60 months for a narcotics pills fraud. He recounted the "instant offense," in which Sprull along with Janssen Smalls robbed two victims of jewelry, at gunpoint, as they got into their SUV on Walton Avenue and 175th Street on September 7, 2018.

  Sprull said he didn't know that Smalls had a gun. After Smalls fired the gun from their fleeing Acura, there was a car crash on the Grand Concourse and East Tremont Avenue. Smalls has yet to be sentenced.

   Sprull's Federal Defender lawyer Robert M. Baum said it's wrong that Smalls and Sprull face the same guidelines sentence. He asked for 72 months total. Judge Castel noted that he could go above the guidelines for Smalls when that day comes.

  Judge Castel sentenced Sprull to 77 months on the robbery, and then consecutive and not concurrent to 15 months for escape from the halfway house for a total of 92 months. He told Sprull to write to write letters to his daughter from jail, perhaps at Fort Dix. As the Marshals took him away, his daughter said, "Daddy!"

While many even most cases in the Magistrates Court of the SDNY are sealed, on June 13 SDNY US Attorney Geoffrey L. Berman announced the arrest and presentment of two middle aged men for murder for hire, and said they had already been presented in the Magistrates Court.

But even an hour later, the case file or docket for 19-cr-395 said "This case is under seal." Inner City Press asked, as to this and other murky Mag Court cases, Why?

 On June 19 Inner City Press went to cover the arraignment of the two men, who each with a CJA lawyer. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel asked, Is this death eligible?

 There was a silence.

 Finally Judge Castel was told, the murder didn't happen. He nodded, adding that there was no "learned counsel" requirement triggered....


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