Driver in 2012 Venice murder of youth pastor gets 58 years to life in prison

A memorial poster for Oscar Duncan bears many signatures at a June 2012 news conference.
A memorial poster for Oscar Duncan bears many signatures at a June 2012 news conference.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A judge sentenced a 31-year-old gang member on Friday to 58 years to life in prison in the Venice shooting death of Oscar Duncan, a youth pastor and mentor.

A jury convicted Kevin Dwayne Green in February of first-degree murder with weapon and gang allegations in the 2012 killing. Green, who was on parole at the time of the murder, was wearing a GPS bracelet that placed him at the scene of the shooting. His locations were corroborated with cellphone records. Green was also convicted of a robbery 10 days prior to the shooting.

In court, Green sat silently with his head down while Duncan’s loved ones described the pain of losing a man they said radiated positivity.


Duncan’s cousin, Lanee Burns, read several letters from family members including Duncan’s father and sister. One letter, from a man Duncan mentored at the Boys and Girls Club where he was a youth counselor, said that Duncan was full of energy, but also served as a confidant for youth.

“He knew how to adapt his emotions to my situation,” Burns read.

About 10:30 p.m. on June 4, 2012, Green, along with several others, drove into the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice, looking for rival gang targets. The group drove up to Duncan and his girlfriend, who were walking to Duncan’s home, catcalled the woman, then shouted “Venice Shoreline! ” -- bait that prosecutors said drew Duncan to the car.

Duncan, who often tried to get gang members to change their ways, told the men he wasn’t in a gang, walked closer to the car to see if he knew anyone inside. Hopeton Parsley, 25, who was in the passenger seat, pulled out a revolver and opened fire. Duncan died steps from his mother’s front door.

Parsley, 25, was sentenced in April to 90 years to life in prison. Nichole Sheran, 20, who was in the backseat, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is due to be sentenced June 24.

Donald Coulter, Duncan’s stepfather, said in court that Duncan was a “beautiful young man” who probably would have told the men to join his gang -- Jesus Christ -- if he hadn’t been shot.

“You don’t go around shooting innocent kids,” Coulter said in an impassioned statement. “You don’t get no points for that.” Coulter, who also spoke at Parsley’s sentencing, said he hopes that Green changes his life for the better.


Green’s defense attorney, Nancy Sperber, told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham that Green too has been a victim of gang violence. In 2010, Green’s pregnant wife was allegedly killed by gang members looking to target Green.

Before the sentence was handed down, Deputy Dist. Atty. Eugene Hanrahan said that he learned about dignity from Duncan’s family during the judicial process. He said Green displayed “extreme violent conduct” when he killed Duncan.

“We all lost something profound and amazing when the defendant took [Duncan’s] life,” Hanrahan said.

For more homicide news follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter