A Baltimore man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for making a destructive device during last year's riots and, separately, for a shooting during a drug deal.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Donta Betts, 20, pursuant to an April plea deal. In that agreement, he admitted to his participation in looting at the CVS Pharmacy at 2509 Pennsylvania Ave. on April 27, 2015. By 5:44 p.m. that day, rioters put propane cylinders and charcoal briquettes near the CVS entrance. Betts admitted he set a roll of toilet paper on fire and put it on top of the propane and charcoal, then squirted lighter fluid on top of it. He was seen doing this in photos published by local and national media. He then fled before an explosion there sent large metal fragments toward bystanders.
“Donta Betts engaged in arson, looting, assault and other mayhem during the Baltimore riots,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. He threw rocks at the police near Mondawmin Mall; tried to destroy police cars; stole from a pharmacy, a liquor store and a shoe store; and set off a homemade bomb. Ten weeks later, he tried to murder a woman over a $20 drug dispute, then he conspired to get her to sign a false affidavit. We caught him only because police and prosecutors spent many hours reviewing video and audio recordings. It may sound like a story arc from a TV series, but it is real life in Baltimore.”