Jurors deliberated for less than 4 hours on May 2, before finding Pedro Espinoza, 23, guilty of 1st degree murder for the 2008 shooting death of 17-yaer-old football star Jamiel Shaw Jr. in Los Angeles. They have suggested that he receive the death penalty, reports NBC Los Angeles.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Shaw was murdered by gang members three doors from his home because of his red Spider-Man backpack, said Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace during opening arguments of the trial.
“I hope he (Espinoza) leaves the prison the same way my son was brought into the mortuary — in a casket,” said Jamiel Shaw Sr., the victim’s father.
Since his death, Shaw’s parents tried unsuccessfully to sue the county. Espinoza, an alleged member of the 18th Street Gang in L.A., was a dangerous felon and an “immigration violator” according to them, who was just released two days prior to their son’s murder. The Shaws also tried to get a law passed that would allow police to turn over undocumented immigrant gang members to federal authorities. That effort failed as well, reported the Huffington Post.
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In the days before his death, Shaw was contacted by both Rutgers University and Stanford University and, according to coach Hardy Williams, he was not only a “Houdini on the football field,” but a genuinely good person.
“He was a very special kid,” Williams said. “Not only was he an outstanding athlete, he was a good person. I’ve never seen Jamiel mad. He had such a big smile.”
The parallels between this case of Trayvon Martin are striking. Both young Black men, 17-years-old, walking home to their fathers, talking on the phone with their girlfriends, were gunned down by Hispanic vigilante-thugs, intent on taking “justice” into their own hands, because of an article of clothing — and skin color — that made them suspects.
“He chose to execute a 17-year-old for the color of his skin and the color of his backpack,” Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski told jurors during the trial, calling the killing of Shaw a “cold-blooded, calculated execution.”
The sentencing recommendation will now be taken in consideration by a judge. NBC Los Angeles reports that a motions hearing in the case will be held Sept. 17, and sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21.