Judge raises bail to $1.5M for suspected Bloods gang member, fracas ensues

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SUNBURY, Pa. — Commotion broke out in a Pennsylvania courtroom after a judge raised bail from $300,000 to $1.5 million for a man believed to be a high-ranking member of the Bloods gang. 

District Judge Ben Apfelbaum raised the bail for Tyrone Lee, 27, who is charged with a May 3 double stabbing, citing Lee’s status in the gang and agreeing with District Attorney Ann Targonski that it would be easy for Lee to raise the $300,000 bail initially levied and flee the Valley.

Lee is charged with two counts of attempted homicide, four counts of felony aggravated assault and various misdemeanor charges.

Apfelbaum’s decision to increase bail drew an outcry from the public defender, applause from the alleged victims’ families, an outburst from the suspect’s family and screaming from Lee after he was placed in a holding cell.

Lee — who faces attempted homicide charges for repeatedly stabbing Benjamin Herrold, of Sunbury, Pennsylvania and James Herb, of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania outside a city bar — is a “five-star general” in the Bloods, Targonski said in court Tuesday.

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Herrold, who used a cane to walk into Northumberland County Courthouse on Wednesday, and Herb testified they were leaving the FUBAR, on North Third Street near Woodlawn Avenue, and encountered Lee between 2:07 a.m. and 3:05 a.m.

Lee was shouting and a scuffle with Herb ensued, Herrold testified, adding that he stepped in to break up the fight and Lee fell to the ground.

Herb testified he was stabbed five times in various parts of his body, including his liver.

Herrold said he also suffered liver damage because of the stabbing.

Targonski said she learned new information that shows Lee is a member of the Bloods, and because of his ties to organized crime he would be able to raise the cash, get out of jail and flee.

“During the course of the investigation witnesses said Mr. Lee told several people he was a five-star general in the gang the Bloods,” Targonski said. “He told one bouncer in the bar this 100 times that night.”

According to various websites and a Bloods intelligence report conducted by the Virginia state police, a “five-star general” is ranked No. 4 in the gang in leadership. Ranking at No. 3 is a “Low 020,” while a “Big 020” is the second highest in the gang.

Becoming the “Godfather” means you sit at the top of the Bloods, the report states.

Apfelbaum said the new information swayed him to set bail at $1.5 million cash, an announcement met by thunderous applause from the more than 30 friends and relatives of Herb and Herrold in the courtroom.

Lee’s relatives began to yell and swear at Apfelbaum, which led to Sheriff Bob Wolfe issuing a stern warning to the Northumberland County Courtroom gallery.

Apfelbaum closed the hearing, and Lee’s family and friends continued yelling, which led to three other deputy sheriffs entering the courtroom and trying to keep a tense situation from getting out of control.

Lee then began to yell to his family and was led to a holding cell where he began to scream out of a window to relatives and friends who were waiting behind the courthouse.