Crips gang boss Siuaki Lisiate, 29, also known as JFK or Just F***ing Krazy, ordered the execution of 23-year-old Tue Faavae in Auckland's Paremoremo Prison in 2009.
Fa'avae became a target after he celebrated the vicious beating of Headhunters gang member Lava Savelio by yelling "B's up!" in support of the Bloods gang.
Lisiate recruited two Crips who were housed on the same landing as Fa'avae - Eneasi Finau and a third man, whose name remains suppressed.
All three were convicted of murder in a High Court trial and were sentenced today surrounded by 11 security guards.
Fa'avae was housed on an upper B block landing divided between six cells housing predominantly Crips members and six housing Bloods. Only one half was allowed out of their cells at a time to prevent violence.
Finau befriended Fa'avae and persuaded him to "kick back" and hang out with him after the lock-down change-over.
On March 1, 2009, Fa'avae hid in a shower block when his cell was locked down and joined Finau in his cell.
Finau and the third man covered security cameras with toothpaste and the third man was seen entering Finau's cell with a radio cord wrapped around his hand.
The pair strangled Fa'avae, breaking two bones in his neck.
They dragged his body to the showers and Finau mutilated the body with a "shank", stabbing Fa'avae in the eyelids cheeks and chest.
As he returned to his cell he bragged to other prisoners that the hit had gone down "Mafia-style".
Finau was also convicted of trying to pervert the course of justice by sending death threats to the family of a prisoner who was going to testify against him.
At a contested facts hearing last month the prisoners argued the murder was a fight that had gone too far and Lisiate's role was limited to encouragement.
Justice Judith Potter disagreed saying the murder was a "planned and directed killing" that was "cold, calculated and callous".
She said Lisiate and Finau were the critical players in the murder - planning it, recruiting "muscle" in the form of the third man, and befriending Fa'avae to seduce him to his death.
They were both sentenced to life with a minimum period of 18 years.
The third man is already serving a life sentence for murder. He is three years into an 11-year non-parole sentence.
He was sentenced to another life sentence with a 17-year non-parole period beginning today.
-© Fairfax NZ News