BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Montana Barronette, the 23-year-old man Baltimore police once dubbed the city’s “number one trigger puller” was sentenced to two life terms Friday—meaning he will likely never get out of prison.
Prosecutors called him “a killer without a conscience” and said he is responsible for six murders.
Only one person spoke on behalf of the victims. Prosecutors said most declined to make statements out of fear for their own security.
Vallencia Bullock, the mother of Antonio Addison, who was murdered on his grandmother’s front steps, told the judge, “I feel like Montana Barronette is the devil’s child. Nobody can be that evil.”
She spoke of the pain of losing her son.
“I relive it every day. Every day,” she said. “I thank everybody that this man will never walk the streets again and hurt anybody.”
Barronette apologized to her and her relatives “for the heartache and pain they believe I caused. He was a good friend,” Barronette said in a brief statement. “I gave him advice for staying off the streets.”
Barronette headed the Train To Go drug operation that operated out of the Sandtown neighborhood.
Prosecutors say Barronette was part of a group of masked gunmen who fired more than 50 rounds near the University of Maryland Baltimore campus in July 2015. That gunfire killed three people including two bystanders.
“He was born to the streets,” Barronette’s defense attorney told the judge. “Mr. Barronette is a victim… We failed Mr. Barronette.”
He argued for a 60-year sentence.
He said Barronette became a drug dealer at age 13 and lived a difficult life. “Murder is such a part of the fabric of this city. …We live in a society that permits what goes on in Baltimore to happen.”
Judge Catherine Blake called it “a tragedy on all sides.”
Judge Blake said, “Perhaps at some age, Mr. Barronette will understand what he’s done. We’re not there yet. There’s really no choice [but a life sentence]. There’s been too much death and destruction.”
Baltimore’s new police commissioner designee Michael Harrison watched the proceedings from the front row.
He said it was important to be there and told others who grow up in West Baltimore don’t make the choices Barronette did.
“It was important for me to see this outcome firsthand so I know what’s at stake,” Harrison said.
WJZ’s Mike Hellgren reports there was tight security in the courtroom and the public and media could not bring phones inside. They were instead placed in locked boxes until the end of the proceedings.
At the trial, which included co-defendants there were reports of witness intimidation, and three co-defendants were charged with assaulting the US Marshals who escorted them to the courtroom daily.
“Montana Barronette led one of the most violent gangs operating in Baltimore City and personally participated in at least six murders,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “He and his fellow gang members terrorized the Sandtown neighborhood in order to profit from the drug trade. As a result of today’s sentence, justice has been served for his victims and their families. Federal, state and local law enforcement will continue to work together to remove armed, violent criminals from our neighborhoods and bring them to justice in the federal system, which has no parole—ever.”