Long sentences for 2018 murder

Two men have been sentenced to more than 45 years of prison in the 2018 shooting death of 15-year-old Rasul Benson at a gas station on the 2500 block of Passyunk Avenue in South Philly.

On Oct. 6, Common Pleas Court Judge Charles A. Ehrlich sentenced Yameen Mofield, 21, and Hanef Wilkins, 22, each to 45 to 90 years of incarceration for their involvement in the shooting, which also injured two other teenagers. Mofield was 16 at the time of the shooting while Wilkins was 17.

Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force Chief William Fritze and Assistant District Attorney Sheida Ghadiri secured the convictions last June during a 10-day trial. The convicted charges included Third Degree Murder, Conspiracy, Aggravated Assault, illegal firearms offenses and related charges.

During the trial, ADAs Fritze and Ghadiri presented the jury with witness testimony, surveillance video capturing parts of the shooting and other digital and forensic evidence obtained as part of long-running complex investigations of retaliatory shootings involving multiple law enforcement agencies.

“Practically five years since young Rasul Benson was ripped from the earth and away from his future, the Philadelphia criminal courts today delivered a measure of justice to his still-grieving, forever traumatized family,” Fritze said. “I want to thank all of our partners at the Gun Violence Task Force, including the Philadelphia Police, as well as the skilled forensic analysts on our team – who were able to pry loose critical digital information that enabled us to hold Yameen Mofield and Hanef Wilkins accountable for the harm they have inflicted on their own neighbors, and our entire city.”  

According to the Gun Violence Task Force, Mofield and Wilkins are the latest of 15 young people to be convicted and sentenced for their roles in violent conflicts involving groups affiliated with the 31st Street, 27th Street and Wilson Park gangs. In total, the retaliatory violence has claimed three lives – including that of Benson – and wounded more than 30 people in incidents known to law enforcement.