Man Convicted In Halloween Murder Of 5-Year-Old In Spider-Man Costume
A jury found a man guilty of fatally shooting a 5-year-old in a Spider-Man costume on Halloween 2010.Leonard Hall Jr., 26, was found guilty of second-degree murder for killing Aaron Shannon Jr., as well as the attempted murder of his grandpa William Shannon and uncle Terrence Shannon, according to City News Service.
On the afternoon of October 31, 2010, the 5-year-old Shannon was excited to show off his costume to his family just before heading out to trick-or-treat. He ran to his backyard in South Los Angeles just as someone opened fire on the family. Shannon was hit in the head, his 56-year-old grandpa was hit in the wrist and his 27-year-old uncle was hit in the leg. Shannon died a day later.
Two juries previously deadlocked over whether Hall was the man who opened fire, and it sounded like this latest jury was also going to deadlock—the jury even told a judge so—but after four days of deliberation and some prodding from the judge they returned a verdict.
Four witnesses, including an accomplice, ID'd Hall as the gunman. Prosecutors argued that Hall, a gang member who went by the nickname "Baby Skull," was seeking revenge against a rival gang but hit the wrong house when he opened fire. None of Shannon's family had any gang ties. Prosecutors argued that Hall was with another alleged gang member, Marcus Denson, who told police the pair were in the alley behind the boy's house. Denson pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of attempted murder.
Hall faces a 90-year-to-life term in prison and sentencing is set for July 21. Denson is expected to be sentenced later, and he's facing 25 years in prison.
Defense attorney Carol Ojo says that her client was wrongfully convicted, that jurors were pressured into convicting Hall and that she expects the decision to be overturned on appeal. She told CNS, "He's absolutely 100 percent innocent. He was not there. He was not present at the time of the incident. He did not shoot the little boy. He's not guilty."
Ojo claims one detective "overstepped his bounds" and pressured witnesses to ID her client. She called Denson "a liar, a thief and a manipulator" who previously told a friend he was in the neighborhood with two other men before the shooting. One of those men was identified by another witness as running from the scene.
Deputy District Attorney Sarika Kim urged jurors not to "accept Ms. Ojo's invitation to speculate."
William Shannon told NBC Los Angeles he was relieved: "Death came knocking at our door ... wasn't invited. There is a sense of relief that this part of the ordeal is over."