Sentencing set for gang member in athlete's death
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A gang member whose jury recommended the death penalty is due for sentencing in the shooting death of an up-and-coming high school football player.
Pedro Espinoza, an illegal immigrant and 18th Street gang member, was convicted of killing Jamiel Shaw II.
The judge has the option at Friday’s sentencing to reduce the jury’s recommendation to life in prison without parole.
Shaw was a standout running back at Los Angeles High School when he was gunned down in 2008.
Prosecutors say he was killed because he was carrying a red Spider-Man backpack, a color perceived by Espinoza as linking him to an opposing gang. Shaw was not a gang member.
The victim’s mother, Anita Shaw, was an Army officer serving in Iraq at the time he was killed.