Man Sentenced in Halloween Shooting Death of Boy Dressed as Spider-Man

Aaron Shannon was wearing a Spider-Man costume before a Halloween party in 2010 when two men fired rounds at family members, striking the boy in the head

A gang member convicted in the Halloween shooting death of a 5-year-old boy dressed as Spider-Man was sentenced Tuesday to prison after his third trial stemming from the 2010 slaying.

Leonard Hall Jr. was found guilty of one count of murder and guilty on two counts of attempted murder with gun and gang enhancements in the slaying Oct. 31, 2010 of Aaron Shannon Jr. He was sentenced Tuesday to 128 years to life in prison.

The conviction came after a lengthy court process that included two trials that ended with deadlocks. The boy's father, Aaron Shannon Sr., said he was happy that justice was  finally served, but he said he's in a living hell.

"I miss his laughter," he said. "I miss the smell of him, especially when he come from outside. I miss giving him hugs, just playing with him, sitting down, watching TV with him, studying, taking him to school, picking him up. It was great."

Hall was described as "a clear danger to society" by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry.

Deputy District Attorney Sarika Kim argued that Hall was seeking retaliation against a rival gang when he opened fire around 2 p.m. as the boy and his relatives were in the backyard of the family's home in the 1000 block of East 84th Street. Aaron was wearing a Spider-Man costume and posing for pictures before a Halloween party when rounds were fired at family members.

The gunmen mistakenly thought they were targeting a rival gang house, according to authorities. The prosecutor said Hall -- a gang member who went by the nickname "Baby Skull" -- and his father had previously been shot by members of a rival gang and that an older gang member had told Hall to "scope out the territory."

Hall and another gang member went into rival territory in the midst of a gang war and passed behind the family's backyard, Kim told jurors. Hall stopped in the alley and circled back once they'd passed the yard, returning to shoot the boy and his two relatives, who had no gang affiliations, she said.

Aaron (pictured, right) was shot in the head and died a day later at a hospital. Aaron's grandfather, William Shannon, and uncle, Terrence Shannon, were grazed by bullets.

"I hurt every day," grandfather William Shannon said in court. "I suffer constantly, knowing that my son has to go through life mourning for his son for the rest of his life."

Hall, 24, and Marcus Denson, 18, were arrested days later and charged in the murder. Hall was accused of firing the shots.

Denson told police when he was arrested that Hall was with him in the  alley behind the boy's house and was the gunman.

Defense attorney Carol Ojo said the prosecution's case relied on  eyewitness testimony from family members and friends, telling jurors that there was "absolutely no physical or  forensic evidence" of Hall's involvement. After the verdict was handed down, she maintained that her client was  "absolutely 100 percent innocent."

"He was not there. He was not present at the  time of the incident," Ojo said. "He did not shoot the little boy. He's not guilty."

She said she believed jurors may have been "pressured" into reaching  the verdict, and that she was "fairly confident the case is going to be  overturned on appeal." Ojo told jurors that "the police were under pressure" to solve the  high-profile case and pushed members of the victim's family to identify her  client as the shooter.

Denson previously pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of attempted murder. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.

Contact Us