Judge sentences hit man for Chicago gang to life in prison

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CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a hit man for a Chicago street gang to life in prison on Friday in one of the city's largest gang cases in years.

Paris Poe, 37, killed two government witnesses planning to testify against the Hobos gang, U.S. District Judge John Tharp said during the hearing. The judge noted that Poe stood over one of the witnesses as he shot the man more than 20 times, as the man's two small stepchildren screamed nearby.

The killings were meant to send a message to other potential witnesses, and it worked, the judge said. One witness said he'd rather go to jail than testify against the gang, and jurors convicted six people accused in a conspiracy that included at least half a dozen killings.

Tharp said anyone Poe holds a grudge against should no longer have to worry he might come after them.

Poe showed little emotion during the hearing, but he looked upset when Tharp said Poe didn't have a close relationship with any of his seven children. Before announcing the sentence, Tharp asked Poe if he wanted to make a statement. Poe stood and said only, "I will not, sir."

Defense attorney Patrick Blegen said Poe's only option for getting out of prison should not have been in a coffin. But the judge said Poe showed no signs he might be rehabilitated, adding there was no guarantee Poe wouldn't still pose a threat decades from now.

The judge called Poe "undeterrable."