LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A convicted murderer was sentenced Wednesday to two life sentences without the possibility of parole for killing two men during the commission of street robberies in 2011.
One of the victims was an MTV music coordinator, the other a young father.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus called 31-year-old Jabaar Vincent Thomas a “cold-blooded murderer” who should never be released from custody.
“I believe that this defendant is deserving of this sentence because of the reign of terror,” the judge said, referring to Thomas’ crime spree.
The judge said he was also struck by Thomas’ “complete lack of remorse.”
Thomas was convicted in March of first-degree murder for the May 8, 2011 shooting death of MTV employee Gabriel Ben-Meir, 30, near
his mid-Wilshire apartment building, and the April 30, 2011 shooting death of Marcelo Aragon, a 35-year-old father of two, in the Pico-Union area.
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Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery or attempted robbery involving both victims and multiple murders, along with allegations that Thomas personally and intentionally discharged a shotgun.
Thomas also was convicted of five counts of robbery, one involving the attack on Ben-Meir, and three counts of attempted robbery — one involving the attack on Aragon — and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Jurors deadlocked on a sixth robbery charge — dismissed at the sentencing hearing.
Ben-Meir’s father, Nick, told the judge that he and his family were “deeply affected” by Thomas’ actions.
“I don’t think that we’ll ever really recover,” he said.
Several of the jurors who heard the case against Thomas returned to court for his sentencing.
“This trial affected us deeply as well,” said Samantha Chan, one of the jurors. “You can’t help but feel for the families.”
During his closing argument in the trial’s penalty phase, Deputy D.A. John McKinney told jurors, “Both of these victims were
executed without provocation.”
The prosecutor noted that Thomas had been released on parole from prison less than five months earlier for possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
At one point during his closing argument, Thomas interrupted the prosecutor saying he was “tired of sitting here and having my name slandered for something I didn’t do.” The judge warned Thomas outside the jury’s presence not to make any further outbursts.
One of Thomas’ attorneys, Keith Bowman, told jurors that “a life penalty for Mr. Thomas is not a pass.”
Thomas is expected to file an appeal.
Two others charged along with Thomas in the robbery spree pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.