Man, deemed ‘evil’ career offender, gets life in federal prison in drug and weapons case

A man who was tried in absentia during a federal criminal trial for being so destructive, including attacking his own defense attorney and urinating on the courtroom floor, will serve the rest of his life in prison on Tuesday. It was declared that

Former Penn Hills and Duquesne star James Tarik Byrd, 44, took no action during a two-hour sentencing hearing regarding his conviction on drug and weapons charges. warned him when the lawsuit began that if he caused any confusion, he would be taken out.

Byrd has a long criminal record, including kidnapping and aggravated assault convictions and a pending rape case in Allegheny County. He was facing his 25-year prison sentence, but because of that history, he was deemed a lifelong criminal in federal court, and Bisoun was sentenced to life in prison.

she took it

“Defendants have little or no respect for the law,” Bithoon said. “Life in prison is the only suitable option. When you are not incarcerated, you are committing a serious crime.

“You terrorized and traumatized those you encountered.”

Bissoon concluded that nothing less than life protects the civilian population.

As part of her sentence, a judge ordered Byrd to serve time in a federal prison as far away from Pittsburgh as possible.

Bithoon began the hearing by detailing Byrd’s history in federal lawsuits and what she called his “evil behavior” in it.

That included spitting vulgarity at Bethune and his own attorney, refusing to follow orders from U.S. marshals, refusing to leave his cell, and urinating on the courtroom floor during one hearing. It was

While in the hospital to determine if he was fit to stand trial, Byrd said, Byrd threatened staff, gave them sexual advances and engaged in obscene revelations.

Then, during jury selection in July, Byrd “physically, violently, and without warning attacked his attorney and hit him on the head with a sucker,” the judge said.

He was taken out of court and had to watch his trial on a video monitor.

A jury found the convicted felon guilty of possession of a firearm. Possession for delivery of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Possession of firearms during drug trafficking crimes.

In preparation for sentencing, Byrd had a video call with defense attorney Michael Derriso. Authorities learned in mid-January that Byrd had videotaped the meeting from inside prison, and that he had uploaded the approximately hour-long meeting to YouTube.

Authorities found Byrd uploaded at least 15 videos. Among them was one that identified an alleged rape victim and provided a sample opening statement.

The case was supposed to go to trial earlier this month, but was postponed because of the video.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan Conway, in his ruling, called Byrd “a villain who has no will or ability to empathize with others.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Conway praised the courage shown by the woman named in the rape case as she testified against Byrd in a federal trial.

The woman initially chose not to speak while she attended the sentencing. But after Bird repeatedly denied having harmed her, the woman asked to speak in court.

She told Bethune that she had known Byrd since 1998 and that he was in control.

During that time, Byrd spent 15 years in prison, but returned to the Pittsburgh area after being released from prison in Ohio.

“He came home this time in a worse state than when he got home. He assaulted a woman. I stand here for all the victims he hurt. Very “A lot of people are afraid he will go home and be retaliated against,” she said.

“I ask you to see through what he is trying to do. If he goes outside, he will hurt himself again,” she added.

Byrd, who prided himself on the legal knowledge he gained in prison, had not yet been convicted in the rape case, and argued to the court that it was inappropriate for the judge to consider those charges.

Byrd also told Bethune that he never threatened anyone.

The judge replied that she had listened to recorded phone calls between Byrd and the victim while Byrd was incarcerated.

“‘I will definitely go home and kill you. will be your worst nightmare.

Byrd responded that his comments were not meant to be a threat, he just said them because he was angry.

He said the courts in Pennsylvania and Ohio are separate sovereigns and that Bethoon violates his right to double jeopardy, so the Pennsylvania and Ohio courts will consider his conviction. Byrd also signed an “outside sovereignty” document from the United States, claiming that he wanted to continue living as a Moroccan citizen.

“I am entitled to my nationality,” he said.

Bissoon ultimately refused his request and dismissed his objections.

“I always hope, Mr. Byrd, that you will use that cleverness for good,” she said.

Byrd said in court that he has represented those incarcerated in Allegheny County Jail, providing legal assistance to them, as well as volunteering for charities for hurricane relief.

He argued that he should have the opportunity to rehabilitate in prison so that one day he could be free again.

“I have a different view of my worth to society,” he said. “If you want mercy, you must show mercy.”

The woman who testified against him and her supporters applauded when Bethune handed down Byrd’s sentence.

Paula Reed Ward is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can reach Paula at or via her Twitter. .

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