Los Angeles jury votes for death penalty for gang leader

Timothy Joseph McGhee was convicted in October 2007 of three murders and four attempted murders.
By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
6:16 PM PDT, August 27, 2008
A Los Angeles jury today voted for the death penalty for a notorious street gang leader who was convicted of three murders and the attempted murder of two police officers, among other crimes.

Timothy Joseph McGhee was convicted in October 2007 of the murders of two rival gang members and the girlfriend of another. According to testimony, McGhee taunted one of his victims, telling him before firing the fatal shots into his head to “die like a man.”

He also was found guilty of four attempted murders, including of the two police officers.

Two weeks after convicting him, however, jurors deadlocked over whether McGhee should be put to death for his crimes. Deputy Dist. Atty. Hoon Chun promised at the time to retry the penalty phase of McGhee’s case.

“We obviously believed that the defendant deserved the death penalty for the tremendous pain and suffering he caused the victims and their families,” Chun said after today’s verdict in Los Angeles County Superior Court, adding that he was thankful to the jury for returning “a fair and just verdict.”

Under California law, Judge Robert J. Perry has the discretion to modify the verdict at sentencing, set for Nov. 21.

McGhee, 35, who was on the U.S. Marshals Service “most wanted” list before he was arrested in 2003 in Arizona, committed the murders in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

During the trial, McGhee was portrayed as a brutal thrill ki*ler who terrorized Atwater Village and other northeast Los Angeles communities with the Toonerville gang he led. Prosecutors used lyrics to rap music that McGhee had composed for his girlfriend to help prove his guilt.

“Here I come, last chance to run. ki*ler with a gun. Out to have some fun. In my dreams, I hear screams. Pleasure I feel is so obscene.”

Chun read McGhee’s lyrics to the jury.

stef Posted by on Aug 27 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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