Convicted killer sentenced to life

Daily News Wire Services
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:07/12/2007 12:20:29 AM PDT

A man who shot and killed a 17-year-old girl and her 16-year-old brother in January 2004 was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor called the killings a “cold-blooded assassination of two young children” and said Leon McDonald Brown III’s “brutal acts of violence against two helpless young people” made him deserving of two consecutive terms of life without parole.

The now-24-year-old man was convicted in March of two counts of first- degree murder for the Jan. 31, 2004, slayings of Shulma and Jason Ramos.

The victims, who were with a group of friends, were confronted as they approached a home in the 3100 block of West Adams Boulevard as they looked for a party, according to Los Angeles police.

The group — who did not have any gang affiliations — retreated to their cars, and shots were fired at the vehicle carrying the siblings, one of whom was shot in the head while the other was shot in the back. Two of their friends were wounded.

“The only thing that I’m asking for is justice,” the victims’ mother, Rosa Ramos, said through a Spanish interpreter. “… My life will never be the same without them.”

Family friend Jessica Martinez, who choked back tears, told the defendant, “If Shulma and Jason were here today, I know they would forgive you because they were not hateful people, and they were taken away from us too soon …”

The defendant’s mother, Lavinia Brooks, said the prosecution had “painted a horrible picture” of her son.

“That’s not who my son is. … My son is a young man who has great potential, whose life is worth more than sitting in a box,” Brooks said. She then told her son, “I will stand by you forever.”

Along with the murders, jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, murder during an attempted robbery and murder to further the activities of a criminal street gang.

Jurors also convicted Brown of two counts of attempted murder and one count each of mayhem, attempted second-degree robbery and discharging a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle.

The same jury deadlocked 7-5 in favor of convicting a second defendant, Frank Williams, 23. He is awaiting retrial.

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