His mother loves him, but teenaged gangbanger Micah Belton is so dangerous even she wants him in jail, according to a NY Post interview with the mother. The Post also spoke on the phone with her jailed son.
The 18-year-old is finally in custody at Rikers Island on three counts of 2nd-degree attempted murder in five separate shootings, an alleged spree that cops said began when he was 17 last year. His mom and police believe he’d be in far less trouble now if only the law and judges had put him away the first time.
“I’d rather him be in jail than for me to have to bury him,” Lillie Reynolds, 52, told the Post at her home at the former Edgemere Houses project in crime-ravaged Far Rockaway, where shootings are up 333% this year.
Reynolds, the mother of nine, says the gang shootings in Far Rockaway are so bad that even her daughter and older son have been caught in the crossfire over the years.
“Micah needs to do a little time so he can realize life is really precious,” she said. “All these young boys are dying around here. They’re dropping like flies. Everyone’s afraid to go outside.”
SCARE THEM STRAIGHT
She added that while she’s not convinced he’s guilty of every charge, her son — an “enforcer” for the SOS (Shoot on Sight) subset of the Bloods gang, cops say — might have been scared straight had he faced harsher justice in the beginning.
She believes, as do the police, that the system failed Belton by not holding him accountable.
The bail reform laws and the Raise the Age law, which increased the age of criminal responsibility to 18 and steered 16- and 17-year-old offenders from Rikers to the juvenile justice system are the specific laws she is referring to.
He was put in juvenile diversion programs instead of prison where he belonged after one shootout with the gang. Nine days later he was picked up with a gun in the vicinity of a shootout. He received detention in a juvenile center. Staffers raved about his success and the judge set him free again.
By July 20, Belton was back in police custody, this time in connection to three suspected gang shootings. Then he was out again. He’s such a nice boy.
Belton was recently picked up and charged with three counts of 2nd-degree attempted murder, weapon possession, reckless endangerment, and attempted assault. Since he finally turned 18, he went to prison.
He said he regrets winding up in jail. “I hope to find a way out,” he said.
THEN HE BACKTRACKS
Belton, who has a girlfriend who is four months pregnant, admitted to being a Blood, but said it is really “more a family than a gang.”
That alone tells us he has a lot to learn. He laughed when asked about the gang doing a lot of shooting and blamed the police for allegedly lying about him. A week later, he denied his crimes and said he was set up.
Sgt. Cummings says the new criminal justice reforms that allow Belton and others like him to skip hard time don’t serve the city.
“Criminals feel they can just walk around and laugh at law enforcement,” she said. “In turn the people who live in these areas are being terrorized. The criminal justice system wanted to unlock the jail doors and give people second and third chances, but in so doing we’ve imprisoned our own citizens.”
Belton’s attorney, Anthony Martone of Queens Defenders, praised him.
“He’s a nice young man,” Martone told the Post. “He’s a tremendous leader. He always has a flock of people following him. He had a perfect record from the last program he was in.”
His mother wishes he were home but said anything is better than having him back outside in a gang and winding up dead.
“I don’t think I could deal with it. They’d have to bury me, too.”
But he’s such a nice boy.