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Jamiel Shaw murder trial: Pedro Espinoza found guilty

Pedro Espinoza (L) and Jamiel Shaw II (R)
May 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A jury reached a verdict in the murder trial of Pedro Espinoza, who is accused of fatally shooting star high-school football player Jamiel Shaw II. The jury took about three hours of deliberation to find Espinoza guilty.

Espinoza, now 23, is accused of shooting Shaw, 17, in 2008.

The jury found Espinoza guilty of first-degree murder with an allegation the murder benefitted a street gang and furthered his gang affiliation.

The same jury will hear the penalty phase in which Espinoza faces the death penalty. The penalty phase begins Tuesday, May 15. Espinoza will remain in custody.

"It is such a good feeling. It restores your faith in the justice system," said Jamiel Shaw Sr. outside the court room. "To get the verdict so soon, it just shows that people are tired of people acting like that."

"It's a big relief knowing that it's over with. I know that we have more to go because we got the sentence phase," said Anita Shaw, the slain teen's mother. "But I do know that right now, it's like Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!"

In 2008, Espinoza confronted the teen just down the block from Shaw's house, then shot him in the torso and the head. Shaw was a student at Los Angeles High School and had college-football prospects.

Prosecutors urged jurors to convict Espinoza, calling the shooting of Shaw a cold-blooded execution.

Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday.

Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski recounted evidence that Espinoza targeted Shaw presuming he was a rival gang member because he was black, lived in Bloods gang territory and was carrying a Spiderman backpack that was red, the color tied to the Bloods.

The prosecutor repeated Espinoza's profanity-laced statements to friends in the alleged getaway car. According to prosecutors, Espinoza said he was going to wipe out the Bloods.

Espinoza's gang ties in make him eligible for the death penalty.

Espinoza had been released from jail 27 hours earlier.

Espinoza is an undocumented immigrant.


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