An Anaheim man who fatally stabbed a 12-year-old "tagging crew" rival five years ago during a fight outside a junior high school was convicted Monday of second-degree murder.
Bryan Ocampo, who was 18 years old at the time of the June 15, 2011, killing of Juan Martinez Jr. outside Sycamore Junior High School, was charged with first-degree murder, but jurors rejected that charge and convicted him of the lesser count of second-degree murder.
He faces up to 16 years to life in prison when he is sentenced March 10.
At the time of the killing, Ocampo — now 24 — was five inches taller and 65 pounds heavier than the victim, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Herrera.
"'Die, die, die.' Those were the words the defendant used as he stabbed Martinez outside his school once, twice and then a third time," Herrera said in her opening statement of Ocampo's trial.
The fatal wound was to the chest, which punctured the boy's lung and heart, the prosecutor said.
Ocampo contended that Martinez instigated the fight and that he was acting in self-defense.
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According to Herrera, the defendant and victim associated with rival gangs of graffiti vandals.
At the end of classes on the final day before summer break, Ocampo walked over to the school, which was close to his apartment, she said. At 2:30 p.m., with kids streaming out of the school, "he sought out" the victim and confronted him as the boy started walking home, Herrera alleged.
The defendant asked the boy, "Do you write?", which is a tagging crew challenge, and the victim replied, "Yeah," as he shouted out the name of the crew he tagged for, Herrera told the jury.
It started as a fistfight, with witnesses giving differing accounts of who shoved the other first, Herrera said. Ocampo then pulled out a weapon, which could have been a kitchen knife, the prosecutor alleged.
The boy ran across the street, but quickly collapsed, Herrera said. The defendant initially tried to pursue the victim, but then stopped, yelled something and ran away, Herrera alleged.
"The defendant is guilty of a murder that was premeditated and deliberate," Herrera said.