A Torrance Superior Court jury on Tuesday recommended that a former Inglewood security guard spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole for murdering two men in the courtyard of his apartment complex.
Jurors could have recommended that Ahmad Grigsby, 29, face the death penalty for the March 17, 1989, shootings.
But the jury, which convicted Grigsby earlier this month of killing the two men, heard arguments during the penalty phase of Grigsby’s trial that Grigsby is mentally disabled and should not die for the crimes.
According to witnesses who testified during the trial, Grigsby carried a shotgun from his Firmona Avenue apartment and shot the first victim, Terry Goring, in the chest as the man walked into the complex looking for friends to play basketball with him.
Witnesses said that as Goring pleaded for his life, Grigsby shot him again in the head.
The second victim, Raymond Rodriguez, ran from his apartment to see what the commotion was about. He was shot in the head as he bent over Goring, trying to help him.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Clay Peters said Grigsby apparently did not know Goring. Peters offered no theory to jurors about why Grigsby would shoot Goring. He argued, however, that Grigsby shot Rodriguez to prevent him from being a witness.
Defense attorney Robert Doddy said many witnesses during the trial offered vague or contradictory identifications or were too far away to see clearly who wielded the shotgun that killed the two men.
Doddy also argued that Grigsby could not have been the gunman because he had been involved in a hit-and-run accident four blocks away from the apartment complex at roughly the same time the shootings took place.
Peters told jurors that there was enough of a time span between the accident and the shooting for Grigsby to have returned to his apartment complex, grab the gun in his apartment and shoot the two men.
During the trial’s penalty phase, doctors testified for the defense that Grigsby was a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome because his mother drank heavily while she was pregnant with him.
Doddy said Grigsby suffers from manic-depression. As an example of his problem, the lawyer said Grigsby required special counseling to control himself sufficiently to sit through the trial.
Judge Francis Hourigan scheduled sentencing for Oct. 12. Peters said he would appeal Grigsby’s conviction at that time.