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Los Angeles jury recommends death in mistaken killing of 4 including boy

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POSTED June 10, 2013 9:54 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The third Los Angeles jury to hear penalty evidence against a man convicted of four gang killings recommended death Monday for Charles Ray Smith in a case that involved the murder of a 10-year-old boy.

The 44-year-old Smith showed no reaction when a court clerk read the verdicts, speaking the word "death" four times.

He sat stroking his chin with his hand. His attorney patted him on the back.

Two previous juries deadlocked on the penalty for Smith, who was convicted along with another man of shooting an assault rifle into the group of family members including two boys riding their bicycles in front of their home.

David Marcial, 10, was killed. Also slain were the boy's 22-year-old uncle, Larry Marcial, and a 17-year-old neighbor, Luis Cervantes. David's 12-year-old brother, Sergio, survived.

Prosecutors said Smith and the other man thought they were targeting rival gang members, but their victims had no gang ties.

In a separate incident, Smith was convicted of shooting Bani Hinojosa, 27, a man on his way home with milk for his family.

Victims' relatives in court for the verdicts said they were pleased with the verdicts and happy to have their ordeal ended. The killings occurred in 2006.

During the penalty trial, the Los Angeles Times reported that Smith's defense team argued he had suffered post-traumatic stress from his upbringing by parents addicted to alcohol and cocaine. They said his adult children testified he was a good father and encouraged them to do well.

One of the children has graduated from the University of Southern California and hopes to become a lawyer.

Outside court, Larry Marcial's sister, Maribel, said, "It's the beginning of healing for all of our family. We've been through a lot."

She said the family would have accepted a sentence of life without parole if the jury had so decreed. But they wanted a death sentence.

"When you get life you're out and about in the jail community," she said. "It's different when you are confined (to death row) and you're thinking about what you did."

 

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