LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) The mother of a 14-year-old girl wiped tears from her cheeks, as a Los Angeles jury recommended the death penalty for Jonathan Fajardo, who killed her daughter in a racially motivated shooting.
The 22-year-old Latino gang member was convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances in Cheryl Green's 2006 killing, as well as the stabbing death of Christopher Ash, who was another gang member and potential witness to the young girl's death.
Fajardo, who will be sentenced by a judge next January, was deemed eligible for the death penalty because the jury upheld special circumstance allegations including multiple murder, killing a witness, committing a hate crime based on race and committing the crime for a gang, reports The Los Angeles Times.
According to court testimony, on Dec. 15, 2006, then 18-year-old Fajardo opened fire at a group of young blacks in the Harbor Gateway area, killing Green and wounding three others.
Two weeks later, Ash, 25, was found on a roadside with over 60 stab wounds.
Prosecutors claimed Fajardo, who was a member of a gang that attacked African Americans, killed Ash because the other gang members suspected he was cooperating with the authorities, says The Los Angeles Times.
Fajardo's defense attorney Thomas White plans to file a motion for a new trial and reduced sentence based on claims his client's past greatly contributed to his violent tendencies as an adult.
White also claimed that Fajardo was heavily influenced by older gang members.
However, Dist. Atty. Gretchen Ford painted a far more chilling picture of Fajardo saying he killed people "for sport and for fun," according to The Los Angeles Times.
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