One of the suspected leaders of a Glades-area street gang accepted a plea deal Thursday that will send him to prison for 12 years on manslaughter, racketeering and aggravated battery charges.
Fredrick D. “Jack Boy Fred” Williams, 23, pleaded guilty to the charges in a hearing before Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Karen Miller. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop other attempted murder, aggravated battery and gun charges against him.
The manslaughter plea was also a downgrade from his original charge of first-degree murder in the New Year’s Eve 2006 shooting death of 24-year-old Antonio Richards.
Police say Williams opened a van door and fired shots at Richards and his brother, who were in a silver Pontiac stopped at a traffic light at State Road 15 and State Road 80 in Pahokee.
Richards, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, died at the scene. His brother, Winston Pinto, the alleged target of the shooting, was shot in the shoulder but survived.
Detectives didn’t arrest Williams in the murder until January 2011, more than four years after the slaying. By then, Williams was already in jail, one of 15 members of the alleged “Jack Boyz” street gang dismantled at the end of 2010 as part of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office initiative to take down local gangs.
Along with the racketeering charges, authorities back then charged Williams with an August 2010 shooting where they say he opened fire on a crowd of people gathered in the 500 block of Avenue A in Belle Glade.
He originally faced three attempted murder charges in that case, but on Thursday he pleaded guilty to two lesser counts of aggravated battery in exchange for the 12-year sentence.
Once listed as No. 6 on Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s list of the most violent local gangs, authorities have linked Jack Boyz to 17 murders, 75 attempted murders and 55 shootings — mostly in Belle Glade and Pahokee — between 2007 and late 2010.
The group was also allegedly tied to the 2008 murder of Pahokee High School football player Norman “Pooh” Griffith outside a youth dance in Belle Glade.