A state appellate court panel Wednesday upheld the convictions of two gang members in the January 2008 slaying of a 16-year-old girl in Monrovia, CNS reported.
The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contentions that there were errors in the Burbank Superior Court trial of Nickelis Darnell Blackwell and Rayshawn Blackwell.
The two cousins were convicted of first-degree murder for the Jan. 26, 2008, shooting of Sammantha Salas, who was with two teenagers behind an apartment complex on Peck Road.
Salas--who was not a gang member and not associated with any gang--was shot eight times in the head, neck, arm, back and thigh, according to the appellate court panel's 15-page ruling. Another teenage girl was seriously wounded.
The justices noted that the Blackwells' uncle, Sanders Rollins, was shot to death in front of their home on Jan. 13, 2008, and that Nickelis Blackwell held Rollins as he was dying.
"Defendants retaliated by shooting at individuals in rival gang territory on two occasions--the night after Mr. Rollins's murder and the evening following his funeral," the justices wrote.
Nickelis Blackwell was sentenced to 200 years to life in prison, and his cousin was sentenced to 184 years to life.