The state Court of Appeal on Wednesday affirmed the first-degree murder conviction of a teen-ager who killed a young Thousand Oaks mother during a gang-related drive-by shooting.
The ruling by the court in Ventura will reduce slightly the 40-years-to-life sentence of Scott Kastan, but the opinion leaves all other aspects of the conviction intact.
Kastan was a 19-year-old gang member when he stood through the sunroof of a BMW and fired several shots at rival gang members who were attending a party on May 31, 1991.
Jennifer Jordan, 20, lived in the house where the party was and was killed when a bullet struck her in the head as she stepped outside. She left behind a 15-month-old daughter.
Kastan was convicted in February, 1992, of first-degree murder for Jordan’s slaying, two counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at the rival gang members, and special allegations that the crimes involved the use of a firearm.
On appeal Kastan raised several issues, including that the prosecutor injected race and class bias into the trial by telling jurors that he came from a wealthy family.
The appeals court rejected most of Kastan’s claims, but it agreed that he should not have received consecutive sentences for using a gun for all of the crimes.
The murder and attempted murders were too close together in time and distance for the two-year sentence enhancement to be attached to each charge for which Kastan was convicted, the appeals court ruled.