A federal court judge here yesterday sentenced a District man convicted of selling PCP to 60 years in prison and fined him $500,000, after ordering him to read aloud in court a lengthy newspaper article about the effects of the hallucinogenic drug.
U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch said after sentencing Garry Jordan, 26, a former McKinley High School and Niagara University basketball star, that he believed the "sentence . . . might cause some of the PCP sellers to think twice about it."
"It's a horrible thing," Gasch said of PCP, or phencyclidine, noting that its use has been linked to a number of violent crimes in the District, including the brutal murder of Catherine Fuller, a 48-year-old Washington mother of six.
"I hope that those convicted [of selling PCP] will be aware of what sentence can be given," the judge said. "If the sentence stands, he will have a minimum of 20 years to serve" before being eligible for parole. Federal prosecutors said the 60-year sentence, the maximum Gasch could order, was the longest ever imposed here for a PCP conviction.
U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova hailed the sentence, saying it was "the right signal to send to every thug who deals or tries to deal drugs in this city.
". . . If you deal drugs here you are going to go to jail for a longer period of time than in any place in this country," diGenova said.
Gasch noted in an interview later that Jordan, of 2642 Birney Place SE, was previously convicted of PCP distribution in Prince George's County and was released from imprisonment there only two months before he sold a 10-ounce bottle of liquid PCP to an undercover D.C. police officer in March 1985.
Jordan was convicted by a jury on Nov. 6 of two counts of selling PCP as part of what prosecutors described in court papers as a "multimillion-dollar PCP distribution ring operating out of the Fun Factory Record Shop" at 6230 Georgia Ave. NW.
The maximum federal sentence for a person with a prior PCP conviction is 30 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and six years of special probation after imprisonment for each count. Gasch imposed the maximum sentence for each count.
The District maximum sentence for PCP distribution is 15 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.
A synthetic drug, PCP affects the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps primitive instincts in check. Without these controls, a PCP user may experience fury, paranoia, irrational behavior and superhuman strength.
"You get over cocaine. You get over heroin," Gasch said, "but . . . this stuff stays in the fatty tissue."
Gasch said he believed that if Jordan "stood up and read [the Jan. 19 Washington Post article] aloud in open court . . . [to an audience that] included his parents" that it would have a profound effect on him.
As Jordan read, the courtroom was hushed. When Jordan finished, Gasch asked him what he thought. "It's a good article," Jordan replied.
Prosecutor Mark J. Biros, who asked for the maximum sentence for Jordan, told Gasch that unlike some drug dealers who have little education and come from broken families, Jordan had spent four years in college and came from a strong family background and sold PCP solely for money.
In court papers, Biros also noted that Jordan turned down a plea bargain in return for his cooperation in the investigation of the PCP ring and had not cooperated with authorities since his conviction. A federal grand jury is now investigating the source of the PCP that was sold at the record store, according to the papers.
They also stated that Jordan continued to sell what he called "that Pepsi" through June and July of last year.
Federal officials said that after sentencing Jordan was sent to the federal prison in Petersburg, Va. Jordan's attorney could not be reached for comment about the sentence.