Gang Member Sentenced to More than 100 Years in Prison

Gina Tenorio (Long Beach Patch) | November 23, 2013

A gang member was re-sentenced today to 155 1/2 years to life in prison for murdering a 16-year-old female honor student after opening fire on a crowd of people after a high school homecoming football game in Long Beach.

Long Beach Superior Court Judge Mark Kim — who was ordered by a state appellate court panel to reconsider Tom Love Vinson’s sentence in light of recent case law — imposed the same term he had handed down to the former Bellflower resident in December 2011.

Under a new state law dealing with juvenile offenders, the judge gave Vinson a parole eligibility date in November 2034, according to Deputy District Attorney Dean Bengston.

Vinson — who was 16 at the time of the crime and is now 20 — has to serve 25 years behind bars before he is eligible to go before the California Board of Parole Hearings, which will determine whether he should be released on parole or continue to serve his prison sentence.

Vinson was convicted in September 2011 of first-degree murder for the Oct. 30, 2009, shooting death of Melody Ross outside Wilson High School.

Vinson also was found guilty of the attempted murders of two gang rivals who were the intended targets, but survived their wounds, and one count of attempted manslaughter involving a girl who was sitting next to Ross on the curb just after the football game finished. She was not wounded.

Vinson, a former Wilson student, testified during his trial that one of the rival gang members pulled a gun before he started shooting.

Ross, a Wilson High School junior who was in Advanced Placement classes and on the track team, was among a crowd of spectators who were leaving the game when she was shot once in the upper body.

Vinson’s co-defendant Daivion Davis, who turned 16 a day after the crime, was sentenced to eight years and four months in a juvenile facility after pleading no contest to manslaughter and attempted murder.

Photo credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

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4 Comments for “Gang Member Sentenced to More than 100 Years in Prison”

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