Calif. Supreme Court Tosses Gang Leader’s Death Sentence

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court on Monday tossed out the murder convictions and death sentences of a Los Angeles gang leader who authorities believe was the “shot caller” responsible for as many as 60 killings.

Cleamon “Big Evil” Johnson led the 89 Family Bloods during the 1980s and early 1990s. Authorities allege the 80 members of Johnson’s gang were responsible for more than 60 slayings on their turf, which stretched for a quarter of a square mile in the heart of South-Central Los Angeles.

Johnson was convicted in 1997, along with Michael “Fat Rat” Allen, of murdering two rival gang members six years earlier. Prosecutors allege that Johnson ordered Allen to kill the rivals with an Uzi.

The rivals were killed at a South-Central car wash before dozens of witnesses, but no one would admit to witnessing the shooting. A task force with the help of federal officials finally got witnesses to come forward and put Johnson behind bars.

A unanimous high court found that the judge presiding over the 1997 murder trial erred in removing a juror accused of deciding the case before deliberations. The juror denied making up his mind before deliberations began, and the Supreme Court said it appeared he was a responsible juror.

Allen’s conviction and death sentence also were overturned.

Los Angeles prosecutors will have to seek a new trial if they want to reinstate those convictions and death penalties.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. The Big Logic says:

    I doubt any true humans were killed by this guy, so maybe he was just attempting to serve the human community by eliminating the clear and present danger his element presents to civilized society.

    1. wg//af says:

      I’m just interested in why they call him “fat rat.” I would LOVE to find out why.

      1. wg//af says:

        I would love to find out just how I love Richard Gere’s “fat gerbil” in my @ss.

  2. hang 'em high says:

    This is cmplete insanity

  3. CA Losing It!!! says:

    California at its finest!!! This once great state is continuing its downward spiral and there is no end in sight!

  4. C.W. in L.A. says:

    What a bunch as B.S., I m sure the witness in this case will and should run for the hills. I was a witness in a gang stabbing, part of the case got overturned. I was in extreme danger because the state decided to overturn the conviction. His civil rights were not upheld. So this is what I think. He has no civil rights, what about the rights of the victims, and the witnesses that are trying to do the right thing. I say LET HIM ROT IN H___. Protecting his rights is not a priority. Maybe they should just let him loose in the yards of the relatives of the people he killed, or in rival gang territory. California at its beat.

  5. GS1008 says:

    I can’t wait to read this decision and go back and read about the dismissal of the juror. Either way, the witness who has always been in danger because of the testimony, will now probably be in more danger. And is out on the streets who I would really rather never meet on the street. And what if the witness refuses to testify again? The guy’s got to be scared. I hope the DA decides to go to trial again. It’ll cost a lot, but I think maybe it would cost more in human life to let this stand. Man the gangs are laughing now.

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