A jury found a Compton teenager guilty of first degree
murder and lying in wait for the slaying of his girlfriend's parents. The
teenager had been accused of killing the couple, then driving to a party
supply store with one of the victims still in the backseat of the vehicle.
He was picking up party supplies for a Halloween party he planned to host
at the mobile home where he killed the parents. The prosecutors alleged
that the boyfriend and girlfriend plotted to kill the girl's parents
in October 2011.
Investigators discovered the bodies of the victims carelessly thrown into
shallow graves. The manner in which they were discarded testified to the
lack of remorse, said a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney. Handcuffs
and duct tape were used.
By his own admission, the girl's mother had hidden her daughter's
iTouch music player from her. This is when the boyfriend proceeded to
strangle the mother so that he could then search for his girlfriend's
music player. He was 16 at the time of the killings.
The defense attorney for the teenage boy argued that he was actually developmentally
disabled, showing evidence that the boy's IQ was only 57. He also
alleged that police fed him information and, when the boy then recited
this information back, police used it as an admission of guilt.
Just about three weeks ago, the girlfriend and daughter of the victims
was also tried as an adult and found guilty of first degree murder and
lying in wait. The maximum sentence for these crimes is life imprisonment
without the possibility of parole.
The boy's attorney plans to appeal the conviction, stating that the
court ignored blatant evidence that the defendant has the intellectual
capacity of a first or second grader. A more appropriate conviction, in
his opinion, would be
manslaughter. If the appeal is successful and the murder charge is reduced to manslaughter,
the boy would only face 10 to 15 years' imprisonment.
When the defendant was interviewed, he admitted that he "got revenge"
against the girl's parents for their mistreatment of both him and
the girl. He explained that her parents frequently tried to break the
young couple up, and that the girl's stepfather even raped her. The
young girl also testified to this, stating that her mother frequently
beat her and her stepfather frequently molested her.
In this case, there were multiple pieces of evidence to point to the fact
that the teenagers were aware of what they were doing, and that the murders
were planned ahead of time. First degree murder is detailed in §
187-199 of the California Penal Code. Although the death penalty is a
sentencing option for this type of crime, it was not applied in this case.