Portland, OR – Two gang members who murdered a pregnant woman in a barrage of gunfire in 2014 were sentenced to no more than 10 years in prison last week.
One of the convicted killers received a sentence of just seven-and-one-half years.
Kelani Brown, 29, and De’Anthony Simmons, 27, fired approximately 30 bullets into Ervaeua Ronchelle Herring on Aug. 17, 2014, after they knocked on her door while searching for a rival gang member DeAndrae Stephens, The Oregonian reported.
Herring, 21, was the mother of Stephens’ young child, according to prosecutors.
She was also pregnant with her second child at the time of her murder.
Brown and Simmons were slated to go to trial on Jan. 10 for Herring’s murder, but that plan was abandoned after “multiple critical witnesses” refused to testify “due to safety concerns,” Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced in a press release.
Stephens, a Portland rapper who also went by the name of Drae Steves, was fatally shot in December of 2021, “which contributed to further concern and lack of cooperation among critical witnesses,” Schmidt wrote.
Brown and Simmons both pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree burglary on Jan. 7.
Brown was given a seven-and-one-half-year prison sentence, and Simmons received a sentence of 10 years, Schmidt confirmed.
“The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office acknowledges the incredible tragedy and loss to the family of Ervaeua Herring,” he added.
A third suspect, Jeffrey Lamont Sims, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in August of 2019 for his role in Herrings’ murder, The Oregonian reported.
He was sentenced to 75 months in prison two months later.
Herring’s mother told KATU she learned about Simmons’ and Brown’s plea agreement less than 24 hours before they were sentenced.
She said the lenient sentences are nothing but a “slap on the wrist.”
Investigators said at least six gunman opened fire through the sliding back door of Herring’s Eastwood Village Apartment on Southeast Powell Boulevard the night of her death, The Oregonian reported.
The shooting occurred just hours after a Hoover gang member was shot and two other members were pistol-whipped during a brawl with rival Woodland Park Bloods gang members, according to investigators.
The Hoover gang members were looking for Stephens, who was associated with the rival gang, when they ended up murdering Herring, the mother of Stephens’ child, The Oregonian reported.
The assailants initially “entered the wrong apartment and threatened the resident and her small children with guns,” Schmidt wrote. “Realizing their mistake, the gunmen knocked on Herring’s back door and fired approximately 30 shots into the apartment when she came to the door, killing Herring.”
Investigators said Herring associated with gang members, but that she was not a gang member, The Oregonian reported.