LOS ANGELES—Convicted murderer, Pedro Espinoza, was sentenced to death by the Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday for the killing of Jamiel Shaw in March 2008.
On the evening of March 2, Shaw, 17, was shot once in the stomach and once in the head. According to reports, Espinoza mistook Shaw’s Spiderman backpack as indication that he was a member of the “Rollin 20’s Bloods Gang”, opposing “The
18th Street” of which Espinoza is a member. The parents of Jamiel Shaw argued that their son had no involvement in gangs whatsoever and was a victim of this crime due to the color of his skin, as “The
18th Street” is of Chicano origins and Shaw was black. The gang is the largest multi-ethnic transnational gang in
Los Angeles. According to LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, “In certain cases, some murders were just purely motivated on killing a black person.”
Photo on Jamiel Shaw's Memorial Facebook Page
During the trial that lead to Espinoza’s conviction of 1st degree murder on May 9, 2008, his defense attorney argued that Espinoza suffered from bipolar disorder and a severe case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The prosecution counteracted this argument, stating that due to the fact that there were two gunshot wounds, there was clearly a “calculated decision.” Adding to the favor of the prosecution, Espinoza was released on a firearm charge the day before. Shaw’s parents argued that he should have been turned into the immigration authorities as Espinoza is an illegal immigrant in the
Shaw spent the weekend leading up to his murder at a football-training program that prepares top high school football players for college football. After his murder, a proposal called “Jamiel’s Law” was created that targeted gang members living in LA illegally. Walter Moore, lawyer and former mayoral candidate of
Los Angeles, drafted the proposal. The growth of “The
18th Street" has risen in numbers, amounting to tens of thousands of members in LA alone and nearly 65,000 active nationwide. It has raised flags for the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, both of whom have directed a massive number of raids of the homes of suspected members.
“We recognize them as one of the most violent street gangs and one of the most prolific in the
United States," stated Special Agent George Rodriguez of