Crime network leader gets life imprisonment

GEORGETOWN — A violent crime network leader that operated in Sussex and Kent counties will spend the remainder of his life in prison after being sentenced to the maximum time allowed by a Superior Court judge, the Delaware Department of Justice said Friday.

A jury convicted Steven Kellam, 37, of Seaford, last year for his involvement in a January 2014 home invasion robbery on Harmon’s Hill Road in Millsboro. In that invasion Cletis Nelson and William Hopkins were shot and killed.

Kellam’s criminal enterprise was brought down in summer 2015 by a joint investigation by the Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Justice, called Operation “In the House,” authorities said.

Kellam was convicted by a jury in November 2017 of two counts of first-degree murder, organized crime and racketerring, 27 counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, three counts of second-degree conspiracy, first-degree conspiracy, three counts of home invasion, two counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree assault, third-degree assault, two counts of first-degree attempted robbery and wearing a disguise durign the commission of a felony. Deputy Attorneys General Chris Hutchison and Martin Cosgrove prosecuted the case and secured the sentence of two life terms plus 769 years in prison.

Steven Kellam

• Deputy Attorneys General Alicia Porter and Lindsay Taylor secured a guilty plea and prison sentence for a Dover man on a weapons charge.

In June 2017, the DOJ said, Denzel Braker, 22, was a passenger in a car parked in the road on Stevenson Drive in Dover. Officers, knowing Braker was on probation, made contact in reference to probation curfew violation. During a pat down, officers found a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in Braker’s waistband, authorities said.

Braker, barred from having a gun because of a previous violent felony conviction on an assault charge, pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. A Superior Court judge sentenced Braker to seven years in prison, followed by six months of work release, then 18 months of probation.

• A former employee of the Delaware Veterans Home pleaded guilty to charges related to stealing from an 87-year-old resident of the home.

During the spring and summer of 2016, the DOJ said, Courtney Sampson, 28, of Dover, while working as the housekeeping supervisor, stole checks and a credit card from a man in long-term care at the Milford facility. Sampson drove an acquaintance to cash checks taken from the resident, and used the man’s credit card to make several purchases, including paying his own cell phone bill, authorities said.

Sampson pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a payment card and theft under $1,500, giving him a criminal record, and was ordered by a Superior Court judge to pay $817, which was the amount stolen from the resident plus additional costs for the criminal investigation. The judge also ordered two years of probation.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Barchi of the DOJ Medicaid Fraud Control Unit prosecuted the case with assistance from Special Investigators Anthony Davolos and Paul Reutter.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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