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Mother Confronts Baby’s Killers in Court : Crime: She says the pair has made her life ‘a living hell.’ The two men are sentenced to consecutive life terms.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Facing the two men convicted of murdering her 14-month-old daughter, Katie Jones said Friday: “I want you to know you have made my life a living hell.”

Shon Yokely, 24, smirked. Darrell Whitson, 19, stared straight ahead.

The pair were in Los Angeles Superior Court before Judge John W. Ouderkirk, who sentenced them to three consecutive life terms for the July, 1991, murder of China Jones and the attempted murders of the baby’s mother and two uncles. The shootings took place in the Athens Park area of South Los Angeles.

“I want to know why,” Jones continued, as she addressed the two men before the judge’s sentencing. “But I know you won’t answer me. Not only did you kill my baby, but you killed me. . . . I know you probably don’t give a damn.”

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Dressed in jeans and a jacket, Jones, 23, then walked forlornly to a seat in the back of the courtroom.

Neither man responded. But moments later, Yokely swore at Katie Jones’ mother, Christine, when she stood up and spoke about the effect of the shooting on her family. She told the men: “I hope you will think about the damage you did.”

“I didn’t do a thing to your damn family,” Yokely said angrily, interrupting to say he was innocent.

A jury found both men guilty in November, after a 2 1/2-week trial.

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Ouderkirk sentenced Yokely to 34 years to life in prison and the three life terms for the baby’s murder and the attempted murders, saying: “This doesn’t bring this little girl back to life but will prevent you from ever doing this again.”

Yokely then swore at the judge.

The judge sentenced Whitson, who remained silent, to 26 years to life and the three life terms for the murder and the attempted murders.

The Jones family was outside their home on a Sunday evening that summer when the men pulled up in a Jeep Cherokee and fired bullets into the yard, Deputy Dist. Atty. Eleanor Hunter said. The baby, on the steps of the house, was shot in the face. Katie Jones was also shot, along with her brothers, John Paul Jones and Albert Jones. John Paul Jones had the baby in his arms when she died.

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Hunter said Whitson was driving the car and picked up Yokely to seek out rival gang members, saying, “ ‘Let’s go rolling some Bloods.’ ”

The family was not involved in gangs but owned a home in a gang neighborhood, Christine Jones said.

As she faced Yokely and Whitson, the grandmother said: “I’m the mother of nine. All of them finished school. . . . My kids are not gang members.”

Outside court, Hunter said with tears in her eyes: “This was one of the most difficult cases. The baby was just so beautiful.”

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