LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A gang member was sentenced to prison on Thursday for his role in the Christmas murder of a mother five years ago.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Ezekiel Simon was ordered to spend 29 years in state prison after he plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
Simon was 16-years-old at the time of the murder, but was charged as an adult, the district attorney’s office explained.
He also pleaded no contest to the attempted murder of a man who was not struck by the gunfire, but admitted to gang and gun allegations.
Just before 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2010, Kashmier Shari James was shot and killed in the 1700 block of West 85th Street as she stood outside of a car, talking with a friend who lived in the area.
James’s 3-year-old daughter sat inside of the vehicle when the shooting took place, but she did not sustain injuries.
Authorities said three other men — Darnell Deshon Houston, 38, Lamar McKnight, 28, and Derrick Williams, 20 — were involved in the murder.
The group was reportedly out looking for rivals when they mistook James’s friend for a gang member prior to the shooting.
However, neither James nor the intended victim were associated with a gang, police said.
Houston, McKnight and Williams were all convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder and attempted murder, according to the district attorney’s office.
Jurors found the special circumstance allegation true that James was killed while the three men were active participants in a criminal street gang, and that the murder was carried out to further the gang’s activities.
Prosecutors alleged Houston was the gunman while McKnight was the getaway driver. If convicted as charged, they both face no-parole life terms in prison.
Williams and Smith were backseat passengers in the car. They both face up to 50 years to life in state prison.
Houston, McKnight and Williams are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16 in downtown Los Angeles.
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