CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Latin Kings gang member who admitted to attacking singer R. Kelly in federal jail in Chicago has been sentenced to life in prison, for a drug racketeering conviction that included the murders of two Hammond businessmen in 1999.
In July 2019, 39-year-old Jeremiah Farmer was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy charges. As part of the racketeering conviction, a federal jury found Farmer killed Calumet Auto Rebuilders owners Marion Lowry, 74, and Harvey Siegers, 67, by beating them to death with a hammer at their business in Hammond on June 25, 1999.
Farmer is among 43 members of the Latin Kings charged with a racketeering conspiracy dating back to 1999, according to federal prosecutors. The conspiracy involved acts of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, sex trafficking, and drug distribution.
"The defendant terrorized the community through his violent actions and today's sentence ensures an extremely dangerous individual has been taken off the streets," said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan. "This is an example of how the collective efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners impact crime in our neighborhoods and remain a top priority."
In a legal filing in September, Farmer admitted to attacking R&B singer R. Kelly in his jail cell. Kelly is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago while he awaits trial on sex crime charges in multiple jurisdictions.
In the handwritten filing to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, titled, "The Government Made Me Attack R. Kelly," Farmer claimed he was "forced" to beat the Grammy winner.
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Kelly was asleep in his cell at the downtown federal jail in late August when he was attacked.
Farmer wrote a motion to the appeals panel asking for an extension for filing his docketing statement in his racketeering case. He complained that the COVID-19 pandemic had made it so he could not use the library computer to make legal copies in a timely fashion and was denied legal copies of his motions by an attorney and a judge. He also claimed that every attorney who had been assigned to him had been "ineffective and conspired against" him.
"Farmer, with nowhere else to turn for legal help, was forced to assault hip-hop R&B singer Robert Kelly in hopes of getting spotlight attention and world news notice to shed the light on the government corruption," Farmer wrote.
He continued: "Due to the most blatant government corruption in Farmer's case, and being in lockdown for R. Kelly protest, I physically beat Mr. Kelly in an attempt to shed media spotlight on Farmer's case to prove government corruption and helping Farmer's innocence to prevail."
Also included in the filing was a Bureau of Prisons incident report in which an employee said he was attempting to meet with Farmer at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, when Farmer left the office despite being ordered to stay.
Farmer then went to another section which was not the one he is assigned to, and the employee followed him. The employee reported that he found Farmer on top of Kelly on the lower bunk in the cell, and said Farmer appeared to be punching Kelly in the head and torso.
The employee ordered Farmer to stop attacking Kelly, and when Farmer did not respond, the employee stopped the assault using pepper spray.
Following the attack, Kelly was moved to solitary confinement, and Farmer was transferred to another federal prison.
Last week, a federal judge denied Kelly's lawyers' request to question Farmer about the attack, and ruled the beating was not enough reason to grant Kelly bail. It was the latest rejection of Kelly's multiple bids to be released from custody as he awaits trial on multiple charges of sexual abuse and assault.
Kelly faces sex crime charges in four separate jurisdictions in Chicago, New York, and Minnesota, but his trials have been delayed due to the pandemic.
Federal charges in New York accuse Kelly of using his fame to recruit young women and girls for illegal sexual activity. The racketeering case also accuses him of kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a child, and forced labor. Jury selection in that case had been scheduled to begin on Sept. 29, but the trial date has since been postponed indefinitely.
Federal prosecutors in Chicago have charged him with videotaping himself having sex with underage girls, and paying hush money and intimidating witnesses to cover up his crimes. That trial had been scheduled for October, but also has been postponed indefinitely.
Cook County prosecutors have charged Kelly with multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual abuse against four women years ago. The first of those trials was scheduled for September, but has been delayed.
Minnesota prosecutors have charged him with engaging in prostitution with an underage girl. No trial date has been set in that case.
It's unclear if any of Kelly's trials will be held as currently scheduled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If convicted of all the charges, Kelly could face the rest of his life in prison.
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