Tuesday, June 12, 2012
C.A. Upholds Convictions of Two Men in Gardena Robbery-Murder
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district has affirmed the convictions of two gang members in the 2008 robbery and murder of a Gardena T-shirt shop owner.
Jayvion Galloway and Zecorey Marcus were convicted of killing 51-year-old Hae Sook Roh in her store, Julie’s Fashion, at 2300 W. Rosecrans Ave., and were sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
The crime netted $35.
Galloway, with Marcus at his side, shot Roh three times, including twice after she had collapsed. The shooting was captured on surveillance video.
The two were also convicted of robbing a man in a convenience store five days before the killing.
They contended on appeal that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen should have given jurors a special instruction warning them to be suspicious of the testimony of a drug-abusing prosecution witness, but the appellate court’s Div. One said the proposed instruction was unnecessary.
The witness, Anna Sanchez, was a friend of the defendants, members of the Shotgun Crips. She told the jury that she drove the defendants to the scene of the convenience store robbery, that Galloway came out and told her they were going to rob a man inside, and that they ran back to the car and told her they had indeed committed the robbery.
Sanchez acknowledged that she had pled guilty to a crime in connection with the robbery and had agreed to testify against her friends as part of a plea agreement. She also admitted smoking marijuana daily for months prior to the crime, and to being a regular weekend Ecstasy user, but she said she had stopped using drugs after the robbery.
The defense requested the following instruction:
“The testimony of a drug addict must be examined and weighed by the jury with greater care than the testimony of a witness who does not abuse drugs.
“The jury must determine whether the testimony of the drug addict has been affected by the drug use or by the need to obtain drugs.”
Van SIcklen declined to give the instruction. Jurors found the defendants guilty on all charges, and found a robbery special circumstance allegation true. The judge sentenced them to life imprisonment without possibility of parole for the murder, in addition to which Galloway drew a 26-year term—including a 10-year gang enhancement—and Marcus 13 years—the gang enhancement being stayed—for the convenience store robbery.
“You are nothing more than street terrorists,” Van Sicklen said, according to a news account of the sentencing. “I don’t think you are hearing what I’m saying or care what I’m saying.”
Justice Frances Rothschild, in an unpublished opinion Friday for the Court of Appeal, said the trial judge was correct in refusing the proposed instruction related to Sanchez’s testimony “for several reasons.” She noted that there was no expert testimony that Sanchez was addicted to drugs, and said the instruction was argumentative and was unnecessary because the jury was adequately instructed as to how to evaluate credibility.
The jurist did, however, conclude that there was insufficient evidence to support the gang enhancements. While there was no question the defendants were gang members, she explained, there was no evidence that the gang benefited from the crimes, that they were intended to benefit the gang, or that the defendants displayed gang signs or mentioned the gang while committing the crimes, Rothschild said.
The striking of the enhancements does not require a new sentencing hearing, the justice said. It does not affect the life-without-parole sentences for the murder.
The case is People v. Galloway, B232165.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company