First Conviction Under Gang Law in Los Angeles County
SAN FERNANDO, Calif. (AP) _ A man was convicted of first-degree murder and of gang membership in what prosecutors said was the first Los Angeles County conviction under a 2-year- old state law.
The anti-gang-membership law can add three years to a prison sentence stemming from a separate felony conviction.
Jurors on Tuesday convicted 23-year-old Manuel Madrigal in the slaying of Jimmie Torrez, 16. Sentencing was scheduled for July 23.
Prosecutors said only Orange and Riverside counties had won convictions under the law.
Past attempts to gain such convictions in Los Angeles County have failed, the District Attorney’s office said.
Because first-degree murder generally carries a life sentence, the gang law should not affect Madrigal’s prison term, said Deputy District Attorney Ed Nison.
But the conviction ″gives a strong message that if you’re associated with a gang member, you’re going to have a stiffer penalty,″ Nison said.
Madrigal’s attorney, Mel Brown, said he would appeal the conviction. He also insisted his client was not a gang member.