Jury Recommends Death Penalty for Jamiel Shaw's Killer

Pedro Espinoza convicted of first-degree murder

A jury has recommended the death penalty for Pedro Espinoza, the gang member found guilty of killing Los Angeles High School football star Jamiel Shaw.

Outside the courtroom Shaw's family said that justice had been served.

"I hope he (Espinoza) leaves the prison the same way my son was brought into the mortuary -- in a casket," said Jamiel Shaw Sr., the victim's father.

A judge will now take the sentencing recommendation into consideration. A motions hearing in the case will be held Sept. 17, and sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Espinoza, now 23, was convicted May 9 of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Shaw outside the teen's Arlington Heights home on March 2, 2008. Shaw was 17 years old.

Shaw was shot twice -- once in the abdomen and once in the head. Prosecutors said Shaw, who had a collection of Spider-Man items in his bedroom, had been walking home carrying a Spider-Man backpack that made Espinoza mistakenly perceive him as a gang rival.

"He chose to execute a 17-year-old for the color of his skin and the color of his backpack," Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski told jurors during the trial, calling the killing of Shaw a "cold-blooded, calculated execution."

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