Man Sentenced Day After Accomplice Convicted in Slaying of Police Officer
A Los Angeles man was sentenced Friday in San Fernando Superior Court to more than eight years in prison for assault and selling cocaine, a day after his accomplice was convicted of second-degree murder for killing an undercover police officer in Sylmar.
Thomas Lee Mixon, 23, was sentenced Friday to eight years and four months in state prison. But because he has already spent more than four years in county jail, Mixon will actually spend only about a year in prison before being paroled, Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan M. Speer said.
Mixon’s friend, Louis Belvin Jr., 22, was convicted by a San Fernando Superior Court jury late Thursday after nearly five days of deliberations. In addition to the second-degree murder verdict for fatally shooting undercover Police Officer James H. Pagliotti, 28, on June 22, 1987, Belvin also was found guilty of selling cocaine and of assaulting two men in unrelated incidents. He was acquitted, however, of attempted murder in one of those assaults.
Belvin is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 7.
Because he was convicted of second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder, Belvin faces a maximum sentence of 17 years to life in state prison instead of 27 years to life.
Belvin’s attorney, Marvin L. Part, said he still was disappointed with the verdict.
“I didn’t think it ever was a first-degree murder case,” Part said. “I was hoping for a justifiable homicide verdict. There were a lot of mistakes made that night. If the undercover police had just called for a uniformed cop, nobody would have been hurt.”
Belvin testified during his trial that on the night he shot Pagliotti, he and Mixon had been selling rock cocaine on a Sylmar street corner. Shortly before the shooting, Belvin and Mixon had beaten up a customer who had returned to complain about the quality of cocaine he had purchased from them.
Pagliotti was part of a team of undercover police officers in rental cars who had been watching a burglary suspect in the area for nearly 10 hours. Pagliotti was dressed in shorts and a print shirt and was driving a white Toyota.
Another undercover officer in the surveillance team saw Belvin standing in the street carrying a gun and thought that Belvin and Mixon were about to commit a robbery. The officer put out a radio call for help, and Pagliotti was the first to respond.
Belvin testified that he was sitting on a planter in front of a house when Pagliotti slowly drove up, got out of his car and pointed a gun at him without identifying himself.
Belvin said he thought that Pagliotti was the disgruntled drug customer he had beaten up earlier, returning for revenge, so he ran away. He said Pagliotti shot him in the back, and only then did he turn and fire three shots at Pagliotti, fatally wounding the officer.
However, several officers who arrived as the shooting began testified that Pagliotti had identified himself as a police officer and that Belvin fired the first shots.