2 found guilty in slaying of special needs teen in South LA allegedly over red shoes

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two men were found guilty on Monday of first-degree murder in the slaying of a special needs teen, who was gunned down in South Los Angeles allegedly over the color of his shoes.

Jurors convicted Kanasho Johns, 29, and Kevin Deon Johnson, 26, for the 2015 killing of Tavin Price, described by family members as having special needs. Johns was also convicted of felony possession of a firearm.

MORE: Mother of Tavin Price gives emotional testimony in court

Prosecutors say Johns and Johnson were two neighborhood Crips members, and they targeted Price because of what he was wearing.

Around 11 a.m. last May, Price and his mother, Jennifer Rivers, were at a car wash near the corner of Florence Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.

Price went into a nearby store, where he was approached by a man who asked Price to remove his shoes. Price then walked back to his mother at the car wash to tell her what the man said.

Authorities said the man followed Price back to the car wash and opened fire. Rivers said she tried to run after the shooter but couldn't catch him.

MORE: Crowd wears red shoes in solidarity for Tavin Price

In court, Price was depicted as wearing a red T-shirt and red shoes at the time of the shooting.

Rivers described her son as having a mental capacity of a 12-year-old, saying he was never affiliated with a gang in his life. Price was also described as standing under 5 feet tall and weighing less than 90 pounds.

"This is a stereotypical innocent victim," said deputy district attorney Bobby Zoumberakis. "He's done nothing wrong. He had no criminal record. He had no gang involvement. I think the jury saw that and saw how important it was to get justice for him."

A third man, 31-year-old Dwight Kevin Smith, has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in Price's death. He is set to be sentenced in October. Sentencing for Johns and Johnson is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Rivers said she is relieved her sons' killers are heading to prison.

"They have to sit there and feel every pain, everything that I feel," she said. "All I could hear every day is my son saying 'Mommy am I going to be alright? I'm not going to die, am I?'"
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