Sentencing Scheduled for Man Convicted of Killing Two, Including MTV Staffer, in Robbery Spree

The slayings occurred during a series of robberies in the Mid-City area in the spring of 2011

A man convicted in a two-week crime rampage that left two men, including an MTV music coordinator, dead is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

Jabaar Vincent Thomas, 31, was found guilty Friday on two counts of capital murder for the shooting deaths of Marcelo Aragon and Gabriel Ben-Meir. The charges included special circumstances of multiple murders and murders committed during a robbery.

Thomas also was convicted on multiple robbery and attempted robbery counts.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty during Tuesday's sentencing phase. The criminal complaint alleges that all of the crimes were "committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang."

The killings and robberies occurred between April 27, 2011 and early May 10, 2011 in Los Angeles' Mid-City area. Aragon, 35, was killed April 30 and Ben-Meir, a 30-year-old music coordinator for MTV, was returning home May 8 when after grocery shopping when he was forced to his knees and gunned down after parking his car outside his home.

A baseball glove found near the body had DNA that matched Thomas, according to prosecutors. He was arrested later that month and charged with two alleged accomplices.

In his closing argument last week, Deputy District Attorney John  McKinney told jurors that "there is so much evidence of Mr. Thomas' guilt." He urged the panel to hold Thomas "accountable," noting that two  others who had been charged along with Thomas in the robbery spree have already  been held accountable by accepting responsibility for their actions in exchange  for sentences of 15 years and 25 years, respectively.

One of Thomas' attorneys, Keith Bowman, questioned the credibility of  Thomas' former co-defendants. The defense lawyer said the evidence supported an acquittal for Thomas  on all of the charges against him.

Thomas' girlfriend, 34-year-old Destiny Young, pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter, three counts of attempted robbery and three counts of second-degree robbery. She faces up to 25 years in state prison. Anderson pleaded guilty to six counts of robbery and attempted robbery and is facing up to 15 years in state prison.

They are scheduled for sentencing March 30.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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