Gang associate gets life sentence for killing sleeping stepfather

A member of a street gang has been sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting his stepfather in the head after he had fallen asleep.

Jamal Barber, who was 17 at the time of the killing, pleaded guilty to the 2007 murder of 51-year-old Clark Pilcher of Stone Mountain. After killing Pilcher, Barber wrapped a black bandana, a symbol used by the Gangster Disciples gang, around his stepfather's head.

"This was a senseless and brutal murder," DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.

Barber also pleaded guilty to violating the Anti-Gang Act.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Gang Threat Assessment 2009, the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples has an estimated membership of up to 50,000 in more than 30 states. That report notes that Gangster Disciples' criminal activities include drug distribution, violent crime, theft and the operation of prostitution rings.

“The commission of violent crimes is often a basis for membership or promotion in various gangs,” James said. “This has been a tremendous effort by our gang unit to help keep the people of DeKalb County safe by actively fighting and prosecuting gang activity in our communities.”