Cold case Spradling murder trial underway

April Charlton (Lompoc Record) | October 25, 2013

A former Lompoc gang member testified Thursday that a man on trial for murdering a rival gang member in June 2007 told him he gunned down Michael Jason Spradling in an alley and left the man to die.

Lompoc resident Charles Alonzo Owens, 27, who is also a known member of the Six Deuce Brims gang, has been charged with first-degree murder for the June 11, 2007, shooting death of Spradling. He’s also facing charges of participating in a criminal street gang.

The then 25-year-old Spradling, also of Lompoc and a former gang member, was allegedly shot three times — in the head, torso and groin — by Owens in the 400 block of North M Street. He died two days later at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

According to witness testimony, Spradling was lured into the alley by Anthony Best, a friend of Owens, under the pretense that he wanted to buy marijuana from the victim. Best told jurors Thursday that Owens shot Spradling after the man came into the alleyway.

Asked how he could remember the details of the shooting so many years later, Best replied, “You don’t forget a murder.”

Best also denied shooting Spradling, which was suggested by Owens’ public defender Rafael Amezaga during cross examination.

“By your own admission, you set up Michael Spradling?” Amezaga said.

“Yeah,” Best replied.

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