Ann M. Simons, Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2011
A jury in Van Nuys finds Martin Sotelo, a Latino, guilty of first-degree murder with two special circumstance allegations–murder due to the victim’s race, and murder in a drive-by shooting–in the slaying of a black bowling alley worker.
A 26-year-old Latino was convicted Thursday in the racially motivated killing of a black Canoga Park bowling alley employee in 2008.
A jury in Van Nuys deliberated less than three hours before finding Martin Sotelo, the last of four defendants to face charges in the case, guilty of first-degree murder with two special circumstance allegations–murder due to the victim’s race, and murder in a drive-by shooting.
Sotelo’s lawyers insisted their client harbored no prejudice against blacks and had no intention of committing a hate killing on Dec. 22, 2008, the night the victim, James Shamp, was killed. But prosecutors said Sotelo was seeking bragging rights and trying to live up to his gang moniker, “Outlaw,” when he willfully participated in the murder.
Shamp, 48, a married father of two, was taking out the trash at the Canoga Bowl when, prosecutors say, Latino gang members pulled up in a car. Sotelo was behind the wheel.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Daniel Akemon of the Hardcore Gang Division said Sotelo helped fellow Canoga Park Alabama gang member Richard Bordelon gun down Shamp “in cold blood because of the color of his skin, in a display of senseless violence and a complete disregard for human life.”