LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A gang member convicted of gunning down a Los Angeles High School football player has been sentenced to death.READ MORE: As 49er Fans Descend Upon The Southland, Rams Fans Prep For NFC Championship
Pedro Espinoza, 23, was convicted in the 2008 killing of then-17-year-old Jamiel Shaw near his Arlington Heights home.
“He has destroyed me as a person. Yes, I’m still alive but I’m destroyed because I can’t get over the fact that someone would do something like that. To shoot them dead just because,” said Jamiel Shaw, Sr., addressing the court, Friday.
Shaw, a top–notch student and star football athlete, died after being shot in the abdomen and back of the head nearly five years ago.READ MORE: Firefighters Discover Human Remains After Putting Out RV Fire In Wilmington
Carrying a red backpack, Shaw was mistaken for being in a gang. Prosecutors claimed that was at least one motive in the March 2, 2008 shooting.
Espinoza was arrested March 7 of that same year and was charged four days later with Shaw’s murder. He had just been released from jail just two days before the shooting after serving time for assault with a deadly weapon.
On May 9, Espinoza was convicted of first-degree murder with a special circumstance allegation that the slaying was carried out to further the activities of a criminal street gang.
CBS2’s Dave Lopez reports that Espinoza’s sentence could be changed to life in prison next Tuesday if the death penalty is repealed.MORE NEWS: 'Is He Alive? Is He Alright?' Family Left With Nothing But Questions After Ricky McGhee's Disappearance Weeks Ago
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)