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Death Sentence For Gang Member Who Gunned Down High School Football Star Jamiel Shaw

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As recommended by jurors earlier this year, the 23-year-old gang member who gunned down high school football star Jamiel Shaw in 2008 has been sentenced to death.The sentence for Pedro Espinoza was handed down this afternoon by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald H. Rose, according to City News Service.

Prior to giving Espinoza his sentence today, Rose rejected a defense motion for a new trial in the case.

Shaw, 17, was shot fatally in the head and abdomen just steps from his Arlington Heights home. The teen was carrying a Spider Man backpack--Shaw was a big fan of the superhero--which Espinoza mistook for a display of rival gang colors. Shaw was talking on his cellphone with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting. The teen had planned on pursuing a career as a sports agent, and had been named his football team's MVP not long before his death.

In his conviction, jurors found true the special-circumstance allegation that Shaw's killing was carried out to further the activities of a criminal street gang.

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Espinoza is an undocumented immigrant who had been just been released from jail on a firearms charge before shooting Shaw. As heard in testimony from a Probation Department employee during trial, Espinoza once proclaimed as a teen at a juvenile camp that he was "down for death row."