Update: Conviction and sentencing in racially motivated killing of James Shamp, 48
A little more than a year after the racially motivated killing of James Shamp, a 48-year-old black man, the prosecution of his killers appears to be drawing to a close.
Last week, Richard Bordelon, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, one count each of attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit murder, as well as admitting to special-circumstance allegations of drive-by murder, racial killing and that he was an active gang member at the time of the offense, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Daniel Akemon of the Hardcore Gang Division.
The defendant confessed that the victim was killed because he was African American, officials with the district attorney's office said. Los Angeles police sources said the case was part of a larger series of incidents in which Latino gang members in the West Valley threatened blacks and sprayed racist graffiti.
At Bordelon’s March 24 appearance, Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Martin Herscovitz sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 47 years to life. The judge also ordered Bordelon to pay $14,386 in restitution for burial expenses and mental-health costs incurred by the victim’s family.
According to police, Shamp, a husband and father of two, was taking out the trash at his job in Winnetka on Dec. 22, 2008, when a car carrying Latino gang members pulled up. A group of men approached him and shot him in the chest. Friends heard the shots and ran outside, where they found Shamp lying face down. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
The same evening, authorities made three arrests in connection to Shamp's death -- Bordelon; Martin Sotelo, 25; and a juvenile.
Sotelo, the alleged driver of the getaway vehicle, is awaiting trial. The district attorney’s office has not decided whether to seek the death penalty. Sotelo is currently being held at the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles.
The juvenile conspirator admitted a juvenile petition for conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to a Division of Juvenile Justice facility.
An additional arrest in the case was made May 21, 2009, according to district attorney officials. LAPD Topanga officers arrested Orlando Perez, a 25-year-old Latino, who was then charged as accessory after the fact to murder. Perez, of Canoga Park, pleaded no contest and admitted a gang association. He was sentenced to three years and four months in state prison. He is being held at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco.
-- Sarah Ardalani