After two previous murder trials ended in deadlock, a third jury convicted a reputed gang member Monday of murdering three people, including a 10-year-old boy, on a South L.A. street in a shooting that became known as the 49th Street Massacre.
Ryan T. Moore, 37, was convicted of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy in the 2006 attack, which shocked the city and was part of a series of high-profile interracial gang crimes that stoked fears of a possible race war.
The two gunmen were described as black; the victims were Latino. Police said that the victims were not connected to gangs but that they suspected the attackers were.
But prosecutors argued that race had little to do with the killings. They said the gunmen, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, mistook the victims for rivals in a bloody feud between two local gangs.
Among the victims was David Marcial, who had been riding his bicycle with his 12-year-old brother outside their home on the 1100 block of East 49th Street; his uncle, Larry Marcial, 22; and a neighbor of the Marcial family, Luis Cervantes, 17. David's brother was shot but survived.
The jury now must decide whether Moore should get the death penalty.
Previous juries deadlocked 7 to 5 and 10 to 2 in favor of convicting Moore.
Last year, a jury found Charles Ray Smith, 42, guilty of the murders but could not reach a unanimous verdict on whether he should be executed. Smith's retrial in the death penalty phase is expected in the summer.
The prosecution's case against both men revolved around a key witness, Alicia Merceron, who admitted driving the car during the killings. She identified Smith and Moore as the gunmen.
Defense attorneys have accused Merceron, 27, of lying to save herself from the death penalty or a long prison term. In exchange for her testimony, prosecutors allowed her to plead guilty to manslaughter, and she is expected to be sentenced to seven years in prison.