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Gang Member Shot HS Football Star Jamiel Shaw Because of His Spider-Man Backpack, Says Prosecutor

Jamiel Shaw
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Opening arguments are underway today in the trial of the gang member accused of gunning down high school football player Jamiel Shaw, who was shot to death near his home in March 2008.Alleged gang member Pedro Espinoza, now 23, faces the death penalty if convicted.

Shaw was gunned down near his Arlington Heights home on March 2, 2008, while the teen talked on the phone with his girlfriend.

Thus far in court today, prosecutors told jurors Shaw was targeted because he was carrying a red Spider-Man backpack, according to City News Service. The colors, claim Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace were all it took to signal to Espinoza that Shaw was a member of a rival gang. Shaw did not have any gang affiliations. "Pedro Espinoza would not let this opportunity pass," said Grace in court Monday.

Opening statements for the defense are expected by midday.

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At the time of his arrest, Espinoza had been residing in the US illegally, and had just been released from jail on a firearms charge the day before Shaw was killed.