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Third Compton gang member sentenced in killing

Ronald Armstrong, a 25-year-old black man, was sentenced this week to 15 years in prison for his role in the 2009 slaying of Michael Owens, a 19-year-old black man.

Armstrong, described by Los Angeles County district attorney's officials as "a member of the criminal street gang the Crips," pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault. He had previously admitted to gun and gang allegations.

Armstrong is one of three men convicted of the fatal attack on Owens, a high school senior who was shot and killed on his way home from school Jan. 26, 2009.

Last week, Darnell Jones, a 22-year-old black man, and Luis Torres, a 21-year-old black man, were sentenced to 50 years to life and 75 years to life in prison, respectively. Both men had been found guilty of first-degree murder in June 2013.

According to prosecutors, at about 2:20 p.m. on the day of the murder, Jones, Torres and Armstrong were riding in two vehicles near West 132nd Street and Riddle Avenue in Compton when they saw Owens wearing what they thought were rival gang colors. Jones and Torres "snuck up behind Owens" and shot him, according to a news release from the district attorney.

Owens was the son of a National Guardsman who had completed four tours of duty in Iraq. Sheriff's officials said he was not a gang member but had been caught in the crossfire of rival gangs.

"His death was the result of retaliation," Nicole Nishida, an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, told The Times in 2010 when her department asked for the public's help in identifying the assailants.

-- Megan Garvey

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