Monday, March 22, 2004
Court of Appeal Upholds Conviction in Long Beach Gang Slaying
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district Friday affirmed the murder conviction of a member of the Insane Crips gang in a 1999 Long Beach drive-by shooting.
Div. Three rejected a claim by Patrick Demon LeBeau that his then-attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel by arranging lineups without obtaining the defendant’s consent. LeBeau refused to participate in the lineups, and his refusal was admitted at trial—when he was represented by different counsel—as evidence of consciousness of guilt.
LeBeau denied being present when a member of the Rolling 20’s Crips was killed and two other people injured. Jomo K. Bland, who was convicted in an earlier trial, testified that he was the shooter, that LeBeau was not at the scene, and that he did not know LeBeau as of the time of the shooting.
Bland admitted telling police that LeBeau was present at the shooting, but testified he was lying at the time.
Witnesses testified that the dead man, Kenneth “Kebo” Wilson, was driving through Long Beach when he stopped at the sight of Bland and LeBeau, who had a gun. Wilson was asked to get out of the car and talk, but advised the pair that his passengers were not gang members and that he would return after he dropped them off.
Bland, according to the testimony, approached the driver’s side of the car, said “Oh, your name Kebo” and started shooting. Wilson started to drive away, but Bland and LeBeau, according to Bland’s statement to police, both fired at the car, which crashed into a pole.
Wilson died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Both passengers were hit, but recovered.
LeBeau was convicted of second degree and two counts of attempted first degree murder, as well as shooting at an occupied vehicle, with enhancements for use of a firearm causing great bodily injury. He was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Romero to 90 years to life in prison, plus two life terms.
Justice Walter Croskey, writing for the Court of Appeal, said there was no evidence in the record to support LeBeau’s claim that his attorney did not consent to the lineups. In any event, the justice said, the evidence LeBeau refused to participate was admissible and any error would have been harmless.
“Neither any request for a lineup, nor any failure by appellant’s counsel to secure appellant’s consent before making the request, constituted constitutionally deficient representation or was prejudicial,” Croskey wrote. “Moreover, the record sheds no light on why counsel acted or failed to act in the manner challenged, counsel was not asked for an explanation concerning those issues, and we cannot say there simply could have been no satisfactory explanation. We note appellant’s counsel reasonably might have wanted a corporeal lineup; no one but Bland identified appellant at trial as a shooter.”
Counsel on appeal were Jennifer Mack, by court appointment, for the defendant and Deputy Attorney General Noah P. Hill for the state.
The case is People v. LeBeau, B155479.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company