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Arraignment postponed in athlete's killing

March 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Arraignment was postponed Tuesday for a 19-year-old reputed gang member charged in the March 2 shooting death of a standout Los Angeles High School football player.Although the arraignment was postponed, emotions ran high inside with family members from both sides showing up in court.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Leanne Suter's report from the courthouse.

No cameras were allowed in the courthouse Tuesday for Pedro Espinoza's second appearance in court, but there was a near confrontation after the hearing between the two families as Jamiel Shaw Jr.'s parents got their first look at their 17-year-old son's alleged killer.

The football standout was gunned down on March 2 as he walked home. It happened so close to his home that Shaw's father heard the gunshots and ran out, finding his son dying on the sidewalk.

Shaw's mother is a sergeant in the Army. She was serving in Iraq at the time of her son's murder.

Authorities believe 19-year-old Espinoza had been living in the country illegally. He had just been released from jail on an assault case the day before he allegedly shot and killed Shaw.

Shaw is not a gang member, but police said Espinoza and a second suspect pulled up to Shaw and asked him what gang he belonged to and opened fire.

Police are still looking for the second suspect connected to the case.

Espinoza faces a charge of murder with a special circumstance allegation of belonging to a case. Due to that enhancement, if convicted, he could face a death penalty.

Investigators are also looking into whether Espinoza is a legal citizen or not. If he is not, after the court case has run its course, he could be deported, but for now, he will be back in court for his arraignment April 9.

 

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