Pedro Espinoza in court in 2008, where he pleaded not guilty to having shot Jamiel Shaw, Jr., a Los Angeles high school football star.
A jury Wednesday recommended that Pedro Espinoza, a member of the 18th Street Gang, be sentenced to death for killing high school football stand-out Jamiel Shaw Jr. in 2008.
Shaw's family thoroughly agreed with the jury. The victim's father, Jamiel Shaw Sr., said the death penalty was the best way to deter future murders. Speaking before a group of reporters, Shaw had a message for his son. "We did it. your life wasn't in vain," he said. "Under the circumstances, this is the best that we could do. The conviction with the death penalty."
With executions stalled in California since 2006, pending the outcome of federal and state lawsuits, Shaw was asked if it bothered him that Espinoza's penalty, if upheld, might be carried out after his own lifetime.
"Of course I want to see it," Shaw said, adding that he tells Jamiel's brother to never forget what happened.
"When [Espinoza] gets old and sick, says, 'Oh, i need to be let out,' i hope they don't do it," Shaw said. "I hope he leaves the prison in the same way my son was brought into the mortuary. In a casket. That's what he deserves."
Defense attorney Csaba Palfi said Espinoza plans on filing a motion for a new trial and a motion for a reduced sentence. Palfi said he was moved by the Shaw family, but that executing Espinoza wouldn't solve the problems of street violence. "It's not going to stop the young men and women who join gangs," he said. "It's not going to stop any of that."
Judge Ronald Rose is scheduled to sentence Espinoza on Sept. 21.