Death penalty ordered for officer's killer

A jury on Friday voted for the death penalty for a 26-year-old man who was convicted of fatally shooting an off-duty Los Angeles County police captain during an attempted robbery nearly five years ago.

"This was a brutal, violent, senseless killing of a veteran police officer, whose life was snuffed out for nothing," said Darren Levine of the deputy district attorney's Crimes Against Police Officers Section. "The jury made the correct call. This defendant has never expressed genuine remorse."

Miguel Angel Magallon will be sentenced Oct. 15 by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

On July 24, Magallon was convicted of the first-degree murder and second-degree robbery of Capt. Michael Sparkes.

The conviction included a special circumstance charge of murder during an attempted robbery and murder during a drive-by shooting.

The jury had also found multiple special allegations, including murder to enhance a street gang and personal use of a firearm, according to prosecutors.

Sparkes, 53, was taking his regular predawn bike ride on Aug. 10, 2004, in the unincorporated Rosewood neighborhood near Compton, where he lived.

Magallon and Orvis Camilo Anthony, then 19, drove into an alley ahead of him at Redondo Beach and Avalon boulevards.

Anthony will be tried later this month.

Prosecutors said Magallon approached Sparkes on foot in an attempt to rob him.

Magallon shot him about eight times with an AK-47 automatic weapon, then ran back to the car, authorities said.

Sparkes survived the attack and called 911.

But Magallon and Anthony returned and fatally shot the lawman before authorities could arrive, prosecutors said.

Levine said Sparkes managed to fire five shots, striking the door of the assailants' car.

"One of the bullets went through the passenger door and struck Magallon in the abdomen," Levine said.

Sparkes was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he died in surgery.

It was the same hospital where Sparkes had supervised a force of about 30 county police officers for two years. Los Angeles County Police, formerly known as the Los Angeles County Office of Public Safety, provide security for government offices, hospitals, clinics and parks.


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