Convicted killer targeted others in rival gang areas, officials say
When Zelos Fields goes before a judge on March 8 to be sentenced, prosecutors will be asking that the 24-year-old black man spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole.
A jury last week found Fields guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder for a string of gang-related shootings that took place in South Los Angeles neighborhoods in 2008 and 2009.
On April 27, 2008, Fields, a member of the Rollin' 60s street gang, shot and killed Gouram Wallis Jr., a 39-year-old black man, while he was standing outside a residence on South Figueroa Street in an area claimed by the 8 Trey Hoovers, prosecutors said.
Four days later, they said, Fields shot two men on South Denker Avenue about 10 blocks away from the scene of Wallace's murder. Both men survived. One man was shot four times. The other man was shot once in the back and is paralyzed from the chest down.
In courtroom testimony, witnesses said Fields approached the men on foot and used a derogatory term for 8 Trey Gangster Crips before shooting.
Nine months later, on Feb. 6, 2009, Fields was traveling in a car in the same area when he saw Timothy Ballinger, a 19-year-old black man, walking with a woman. According to prosecutors, the people in the car called Ballinger over to them. When Ballinger saw someone had a gun, he ran north on South Denker Avenue in an attempt to flee.
Fields then got out of the car and shot him in the back, prosecutors said. Ballinger died the same day.
Fields, who was 18 at the time of the first murder, came to the attention of Los Angeles police after someone reported overhearing him boasting about killing a man on Figueroa Avenue. Shell casings from that crime scene were later matched to the shooting on Danker Avenue that left the two men wounded. The weapon has not been recovered.
Authorities said they believe that all the men shot by Fields were targeted because they happened to be in rival gang territory and not because of who they were.
Fields took the stand in his own defense and denied any knowledge of the crimes. Jurors heard testimony about his two prior weapons convictions, including one as a juvenile, as well as his role in a robbery committed in November 2009.
The jury took about a day to deliberate before finding him guilty.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Atty. David Barkhurst.
-- Megan Garvey