The sentencing phase trial continues this week for a gang member convicted of killing a Los Angeles High School football standout four years ago.
An L.A. jury must decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without parole for 23-year-old Pedro Espinoza.
Prosecutors say Espinoza shot 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw, Jr. because he was a black kid wearing a red backpack and Espinoza thought he was a rival gang member. Shaw was not in a gang.
The jury has so far heard testimony from sheriff’s deputies about Espinoza’s violent behavior in juvenile camps and jails. The Shaw family and a football coach also testified about Jamiel Shaw’s potential future.
The defense opened the sentencing phase of the trial saying Espinoza didn’t grow up with the same advantages Shaw did, and that Espinoza’s parents brought him to the U.S. from Mexico when he was four years old.
The defense called on a probation program director to testify that Espinoza had exhibited good behavior.
Espinoza’s lawyers will announce on Monday whether their client will testify on his own behalf this week.