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Two more plead guilty in gang-related killing of pregnant Portland mother

The Portland Police Bureau estimates the 2014 murder of Ervaeua Herring has triggered more than 150 retaliatory shootings.
Credit: sergign - stock.adobe.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two men pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected to the gang-related murder of a young Portland mother, the Multnomah County District Attorney's office said. 

De'Anthony Simmons, 27, and Kelani Brown, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and burglary for the death of 21-year-old Ervaeua Herring, who was found shot to death in her apartment in August 2014. An autopsy revealed she was in the early stages of pregnancy. 

The DA's office said it started with a fight downtown, when an associate of Simmons and Brown was shot. They drove to an apartment complex in Southeast Portland looking for DeAndrae Stephens, who was associated with people involved in the fight. Stephens and Herring had a child together who was 1 year old at the time. 

First, according to the DA, six armed gunmen entered the wrong apartment and threatened the family living there, including small children, with guns. After realizing their mistake, the gunmen knocked on Herring's back door, then fired roughly 30 shots into the apartment when she came to the door, killing her. 

Portland police estimate Herring's killing has triggered more than 150 retaliatory shootings since 2014.

Simmons and Brown were set to begin trial next week, but the district attorney's office said prosecution efforts were held back by witnesses' reluctance to testify, and the fact that DeAndrae Stephens was shot and killed in Goose Hollow in late December. 

Several other defendants in this case have already pleaded guilty: Jeffrey Sims, Tony Lamar Brown and Geontae Jones. Another suspect, Demetrius Brown, had charges dismissed last year after he was found unfit to stand trial, though under Oregon law charges could be reinstated if he ever regains competency.

Simmons was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Brown was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years.