Bushawn Shelton, a prominent member of the Bloods, held back tears Thursday as he expressed regret for having Bronx businessman Sylvester Zottola murdered at a McDonald’s drive-thru in 2018–as well as for attempting to murder his oldest son.
Federal judge Hector Gonzalez sentenced Shelton to 37 years in prison as part of a plea bargain deal. Some of his property had been seized through government forfeiture. Shelton requested being assigned to a federal prison near South Carolina, where his grandmother and his family are moving.
“I’m truly sorry for all the pain, trauma and damage I’ve caused your family,” Bushawn Shelton said.
Salvatore Zottola’s younger brother, Anthony, had hired Bushawn Shelton to kill both his father and Salvatore in the hopes of getting control of a $45 million real estate empire. Prosecutors postulate that Anthony Zottola paid Shelton about $200,000 in cash and offered the Bloods member some home renovation assistance.
Texts and photographs tied Shelton to the plot.
Sylvester and Salvatore Zottola were targeted by over 20 Bloods members until Himen Ross fatally shot the father at the McDonald’s drive-through.
Although Shelton had a criminal record previously, he had been wearing a shirt and tie daily—working as a job recruiter—and had engaged in Bloods “business” on the side.
His defense attorney said he was a smart man who was now on a spiritual journey.
“He should have got life,” Salvatore Zottola countered outside court. “My father’s a good man. He would have done anything for anyone.”