Drug Boss who Ordered Hits Going to Prison

Dionne Gatling sentenced in St. Louis federal court

Kevin Killeen
May 24, 2019 - 3:49 pm

ST. LOUIS--(KMOX)--A drug dealer who ordered the killings of two people he feared might talk to police about him is sentenced to 27 years in federal prison.

Dionne Gatling, 53, had a reputation for being cautious, as he ran a drug ring that distributed large quantities of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine here over the past 15 years or so.

"He ordered the hits of two individuals who he believed not only had information about the drug trafficking organization and his activities , but he believed would also cooperate with law enforcement," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rea.

Gatling's sentencing comes at a time when St. Louis area prosecutors complain it's hard to get witnesses to come forward to testify in court--on all types of cases--for fear of retaliation from criminals.

"When you harm individuals who possess the truth, when you try to eliminate individuals from providing about the truth, you are attacking the very foundation of our justice system," Rea said.

Gatling ordered the murder of Theodis Howard, a man who had helped federal investigators send Gatling's brother, Deron Gatling, to prison.  Howard was shot to death on a street corner.

Gatling also ordered the shooting death of Terrance Morgan, one of his drug dealer underlings whose phone Gatling believed was being monitored by federal investigators.

In February, Gatling pleaded guilty to several drug charges, including possession of guns in furtherance of drug-trafficking resulting in deaths.

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