Modified: February 10, 2016 4:33pm
Erie County Acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that 19 year-old Daqwan Morris a/k/a “Snook J with the AK”; 18 year-old Shameek Young, a/k/a “Face” and 18 year-old Paul Brown a/k/a “PaulOut” each pleaded guilty, as charged, during jury selection before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case for their role in a vicious 2014 gang rape of a 18 year old female victim on Buffalo’s east side. Morris, a self-identified member of the “Zelmer Boys” street gang, pleaded guilty to Rape in the First Degree and Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree. Young pleaded guilty to two counts of Rape in the First Degree and three counts of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree. Brown pleaded guilty to Rape in the First Degree. All counts are class “B” violent sexual felonies. These were the highest charges for which each defendant could have been convicted after trial. Morris and Young face a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and Brown faxes a maximum prison sentence of 25 years when they are all sentenced before Judge Case on February 22, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Two other men, Dequan Rosenthal and Cornelius Caddele, also participated in the gang rape. They each pleaded guilty on prior occasions for their role in the crimes. Young, Brown, Caddele, and Rosenthal all identify as “Grimmie Gang” members.
In the summer of 2014, Daqwan Morris invited the victim to his house. Soon after arriving, Morris and Rosenthal physically overpowered the victim, simultaneously raping and sodomizing her. Over the next almost four hours, the defendants kept the victim in a third floor attic, each taking turns raping and sodomizing her. Portions of many of the crimes were video recorded by the defendants, and shared with others on Facebook and Twitter. A major breakthrough in the case occurred when it was discovered that a cell phone used to record several of the crimes had been in the possession of a local attorney for several months. Investigators obtained the phone after a judge ordered the attorney to turn over the phone, and found extensive video footage of the crimes still saved on it.
Acting District Attorney Flaherty stated, “rape is a crime of secrecy and cowardice. Thanks to the courage and strength of the victim, and a methodical and unrelenting police investigation, we succeeded in bringing all of the perpetrators to justice.”
Acting District Attorney Flaherty made special mention of the investigative efforts of Buffalo Police Detective Judy Walker, whose work was critical to securing convictions against all five defendants. The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ryan D. Haggerty who is assigned to the Special Victims Bureau of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and Chief of the Tactical Prosecution Bureau, Michael P. Felicetta.