L-R: Pedro Espinoza, 23, has been sentenced to death for the 2008 murder of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw, Jr.
“I hope he leaves the prison the same way my son was brought into the mortuary — in a casket,” said Jamiel Shaw Sr. of Pedro Espinoza, 23, the Hispanic gang member that murdered his son, 17-year-old football star, Jamiel Shaw, Jr., in Los Angeles in 2008.
As previously reported by NewsOne, jurors deliberated for less than 4 hours on May 2, 2012, before finding Espinoza, 23, guilty of 1st degree murder for Shaw’s death. They suggested that he receive the death penalty and, on Friday, Superior Court Judge Ronald H. Rose agreed.
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The judge rejected defense arguments, reports the DailyMail UK, because of the purposeful and brutal nature of the crime:
“The evidence is clear he decided to murder the victim in cold blood and bragged about the killing after. The defendant executed the victim as he lay on the ground defenseless.”
According to prosecution, Espinoza ambushed Shaw with an abrupt, “Where you from?” before shooting the teen in the stomach. As Shaw lay crumpled in pain on the ground, Espinoza fired a second shot into his brain, killing him instantly.
All because the teen was wearing a red Spider-Man back-pack.
“You don’t have a right to execute someone and then come in and plead not to be executed,” said the distraught father during the sentencing hearing. Jamiel’s mother, Anita Shaw, said that as a Christian, she knows that she’s supposed to forgive, but “I’m not that strong of a person,” she said.
At the time of her son’s murder, she was preparing to return home from her second tour in Iraq.
“She called crying, saying, ‘Tell me it’s not my son,’ ” said Jamiel’s aunt, Althea Shaw. “She was so proud. She felt he had made it through the hard times. She still called him her baby, even though he was taller than her.”
As we previously reported, Jamiel Shaw, Sr. had just called his son to tell him to hurry up and return home from the mall, not knowing that he was about a block away. After hanging up with his father, Shaw called his girlfriend, Chrystale, to tell her he was almost home when Espinoza approached him. His father says that he had barely hung-up the phone when he heard the shots. Running outside, he saw his son bleeding on the ground, not three doors away from home.
“[His mother’s] over there trying to protect us from guns and bombs, and then she has to hear that her son is dead over here,” he said at the time. “I’ve got my own personal Iraq now.”
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.
When encouraged by the judge to be strong so that they can raise 13-year-old son Thomas, Shaw, Sr. says that today’s society makes that difficult.
“You’re not raising them anymore, he said. “You’re trying to keep them alive.”
Espinoza is currently awaiting execution at San Quentin State Prison.