JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former gang member sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for ordering the murder of a potential witness cursed and yelled as he was led out of the courtroom after learning his fate.
Quintae Hudson, 25, was already behind bars when he ordered the hit on a security guard while awaiting trial on an aggravated assault charge.
Prosecutors said Hudson arranged for Michael Wright to be murdered after Wright saw Hudson throw a concrete block into a car with a family inside. Wright was scheduled to testify against Hudson.
Hudson was calm during most of the sentencing hearing as he listened to Wright's family share their painful memories and saw photos of the man he ordered killed on Easter Sunday 2016.
Wright's sister, Beverly Roscoe Nzuzu, said she found out by phone that her brother was dead.
“The next time I saw my brother, it was at the morgue with several gunshots throughout his body,” Nzuzu said.
Despite her pain, Nzuzu said she forgave Hudson.
“We forgive you. We love you. We know that we can't bring our brother back, nor do we hate you for the crime that was committed against our brother,” she said.
She had similar words for Hudson's mother, bringing her to tears.
“We wish no harm against you. We love you. You are a victim, just like us,” Nzuzu said.
Hudson spoke briefly, claiming his innocence again.
“I simply would like to say thank you to my mom, to my family, for standing firm by me through this whole ordeal,” Hudson said. “A lot of people betrayed me. People cared nothing about turning against someone that they love. … Other than that, I would like to say I'm innocent. Nobody connected me as a killer. I've never killed nobody, and the state failed to prove who killed Michael Wright.”
Fighting gang violence
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said that Hudson's arrest, and ultimately, his conviction is part of a bigger
picture -- a crackdown on violent gang members.
Forty-one people described by the sheriff as violent gang members have been put behind bars.
Hudson is one of those 41. Williams said Hudson was a member of the Rollin' 20's Bloods gang.
"The messaging is don't be the most violent gang in the city," Williams said. "Don't shoot or kill anyone. Those are the new rules. This is what happens when you violate those rules. You become the most violent gang in the city. You become the priority of not only JSO but of our law enforcement partners."
That partnership is part of a national gang initiative teaming up with big cities like New York and Chicago, to bring down three of the most violent gangs in Jacksonville.
So far, that initiative has netted 1,009 felony arrests and 507 misdemeanor arrests.