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Man sentenced to 21 years in prison in 2017 Blue Line shooting

A 22-year-old man was sentenced to 21 years in prison Thursday in the fatal shooting of a man nearly two years ago at the Compton Metro Blue Line station.

A jury on Sept. 12 convicted Arthur Lee Lewis of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Travon Brown Jr., 21.  The jury also found gun allegations against Lewis to be true.

The shooting occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2017. Lewis and his stepbrother Eric Roberts, 23, exited the Metro Blue Line train at the Compton station, yelling gang names and asking people what gang they belonged to, according to prosecutors and witness testimony at trial.

The duo approached Brown, Deputy Dist. Atty. Luke Sisak said, and a fight ensued. Roberts threw the first punch, Sisak said.

“These two guys went out looking for trouble, looking for violence, knowing they were going to use the gun,” Sisak said. “They did find it at the platform.”

Defense attorneys argued that Lewis was being attacked and was acting in self defense when he shot Brown.

Brown was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood at around 4:30 p.m., according to coroner’s records.

Lewis and Roberts were both charged with murder eight days later. Their mother, Dupresa Paxton, 48, and her husband, Norman Johnson, 45, were arrested in February 2018 on suspicion of hiding the two brothers, Sisak said.

Paxton and Johnson pleaded no contest to accessory after the fact, and were each sentenced to one year in county jail and five years of probation. 

Roberts was acquitted of the murder charge in a jury trial.

Before a judge handed down Lewis’ sentence, Brown’s family members described their loss.

“I can’t explain to my daughter what happened to her uncle,” said Latina Easley, 26, Brown’s older sister. “He had his own place, he was going places.”

About a month prior to the shooting, Brown had moved out of his aunt’s house in Boyle Heights. With her help, he rented an apartment nearby and had started working at a warehouse in Downey.

“We haven’t celebrated a single Christmas or Thanksgiving since he died,” said Tomeshia Easley, 38, Brown’s aunt. “Our family is dead.”

Browns mother, Tina Easley, told the court that she has found support among other families who have suffered a violent loss. And being involved with violence-reduction organizations such as United in Peace has helped her cope with the loss of her son, allowing her to take life day by day, she said.

“I try to tell my story, because I’m the one getting justice,” she said. ”You can’t say that for a lot of other families.”

Eight family members spoke about Brown in court, including his cousins Makalyn Barnes, 15, and Kalajah Barnes,13.

“I just want to get him back,” Kalajah said.

Six more family members watched from the gallery, including Brown’s father and Brown's 2-year-old niece.

Also in the gallery was Paxton, the mother of the defendant, who periodically left the courtroom weeping, with her face covered under her red sweatshirt.

After Brown's family members spoke, she gave her own statement to the judge.

 “My tears are not for my kids, it’s for you guys,” she said to the Brown family. “I wish all the killing would stop. I hurt for you and cry for you.”

Lewis sat in the courtroom, keeping his head down, but periodically looked up at Brown's family members when they spoke.

“I love my mother and she did the best she could,” Lewis said to the judge. “I lost my dad before I turned 5, so I know their pain and I know what they’re going through. I don’t wish this upon nobody.”

When Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Pat Connolly sentenced Lewis, he said he appreciated the kind words from Paxton, but gave Lewis the maximum sentence allowed by law.

“You went there armed,” Connolly told Lewis. “You are the one who caused this. ”

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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