Former Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force member Daniel Hersl has metastatic cancer and is expected to have less than 18 months to live, his attorney said in an emergency motion asking that he be released from prison.
Hersl, 53, is serving 18 years in prison after a federal jury convicted him in 2018 of racketeering charges for robbing citizens, falsifying information and stealing overtime. Hersl had long been a notorious detective accused of misconduct before being ensnared in a wiretap investigation that took down a squad of rogue city cops, as well as others with connections to the group.
Hersl is being held at a U.S. medical center in Springfield, Missouri, and the court filing says cancer was first detected in December 2022. By August 2023, medical staff concluded the cancer had spread throughout his body and was “likely ... terminal.” The warden of the facility did not respond to an Aug. 29 request for compassionate release.
“The compassionate release statute allows courts to reduce sentences for ‘extraordinary and compelling’ reasons. Such reasons are present in this case,” wrote attorney William Purpura.
The officers were arrested in February 2017 following an FBI investigation. The motion notes that “equally, if not more culpable co-defendants who cooperated and did not go to trial have already been released from the BOP [Bureau of Prisons] or will be released within the next 10 months.”
Two of the eight members of the task force, Evodio Hendrix and Maurice Ward, were released in February 2022. Momodu Gondo was sentenced to 10 years and has a release date of September 2024.
Hersl and co-defendant Marcus Taylor each received 18 years after being convicted by a federal jury.
Purpura asked that Hersl be allowed to reside with family members who will work together to provide care for him.
The motion notes that the prosecutors who handled the case, Leo Wise and Derek Hines, “are not presently actively working in Maryland’s United States Attorney’s Office” and that prosecutors were “trying to find an AUSA [assistant U.S. attorney] to take it on since Leo has departed.”
Wise and Hines are currently lead prosecutors on the case against President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in Delaware.