Federal prosecutors asked a judge Friday to deny a request for freedom from a once-feared leader of a Roxbury drug gang who was sentenced to life in prison for his widespread criminal activities, after initially supporting his bid to be released.
In a surprising reversal, prosecutors said they now believe Darryl “God” Whiting should continue serving a life term, citing a novel that he published while incarcerated. Prosecutors filed their recommendation in US District Court in Boston.
The novel, “Takin’ It To Another Level,” shows that Whiting may return to his criminal ways if released, the government said. Prosecutors were not aware of the novel when they recommended earlier this month that Whiting’s sentence be reduced to 30 years, based on changes to sentencing rules for drug crimes.
The reduction would have made him eligible for release in 2017.
Prosecutors wrote Friday that in the novel, the main character has the same name as Whiting and is serving a life term for running a continuing criminal enterprise, the same crime that sent the real-life Whiting to prison for life in 1991.
In the book, the fictional Whiting is released from prison after 20 years because of a change in the law, and he takes revenge on former associates who testified against him, the filing said.
“Notably, in a chapter entitled ‘Got You, Sucka,’ [Whiting] hunts down a former associate who cooperated with the government,” prosecutors wrote.
“[Whiting] and an accomplice torture the cooperator with electric shocks, set him on fire, put him in a box containing fire ants, and bury him alive. [Whiting] comments, ‘You have brought me great satisfaction and fulfillment from my many hours of planning your demise while I slowly rotted away in prison.’ ”
James J. Coviello, a lawyer for Whiting, said in an e-mail Friday night that the government initially recommended a sentence reduction based in part on Whiting’s “quite favorable disciplinary history while incarcerated.”
He said Whiting wrote the novel eight years ago and that it was published two years ago, before Whiting had any hope for release. “Whiting’s writings may not be a collection of sonnets, but it’s a far cry from constituting evidence of a malicious intent or a revengeful plan,” he said.
“Lastly, at the eleventh hour, the government claims, through multiple levels of hearsay from unnamed sources that Whiting made a threat at some unstated time in the past to some undisclosed person. At this stage in his life, Whiting would like to reacclimate with his family, particularly his college educated son.”
In their filing, prosecutors also wrote that one of the jurors involved in the original case, the mother of a murder victim, and witnesses who testified against Whiting “have recently expressed substantial concern that the defendant might be released from prison.”
Now 59, Whiting received his sentence in federal court in Boston in October 1991, following his conviction for leading a drug enterprise that prosecutors said operated out of the Orchard Park housing development and grossed millions of dollars.
According to court records, Whiting’s group forcibly removed residents from the project and used their apartments for the drug trade.
Whiting was also charged with ordering the murder of a rival dealer, but that count was later dropped.
The flamboyant Whiting was known for his stylish dress and efforts to portray himself as a role model for young people.
He ran several businesses in Roxbury, as well as a social club that he used to recruit neighborhood youths for his drug ring, which numbered more than 100 people, authorities said.
During a court appearance in the federal case that led to his downfall, a defiant Whiting told reporters, “Call this the second trial of Jesus Christ!’’
In 2014, Whiting filed a motion for a reduced prison term, based on new guidelines for drug offenses that the US Sentencing Commission adopted.
Whiting’s son, also named Darryl Whiting, 25, of the Bronx, N.Y., said in a phone interview that the book is “100 percent fiction, so that’s kind of laughable. I don’t even get it.”
But Paul V. Kelly, who prosecuted Whiting, wrote in an affidavit filed Friday that one trial witness contacted him and “expressed extreme fear that if released, Whiting would seek to locate him and take revenge against him for cooperating with the government.”