The gang member convicted of killing Los Angeles High School football star Jamiel Shaw was sentenced to death today.
The judge in the case agreed with the jurors' recommendation for the death sentence. The judge did not take the option to reduce the sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Pedro Espinoza, 23, was found guilty of first-degree murder back in May. Espinoza gunned down Shaw in March 2008 near Shaw's home in Arlington Heights.
Prior to the sentencing on Friday, Espinoza's attorneys filed a motion for a new trial, but the judge denied the motion, saying the circumstantial evidence in the case was overwhelming.
The 17-year-old standout running back was killed by Espinoza for carrying a red Spider-Man backpack. Prosecutors say Espinoza, who was a member of the 18th Street Gang, perceived the color of the backpack as linking Shaw to an opposing gang.
Shaw was not a gang member. The teen, who had a collection of Spider-Man items, was walking home when he was shot once in the abdomen and once in the head. His mother was an Army officer serving in Iraq when the shooting occurred.
Shaw's murder sparked a campaign for "Jamiel's Law," aimed at rounding up gang members who are in the U.S. illegally. Espinoza is an undocumented immigrant. The measure won support from conservatives but failed to get enough signatures to get on the ballot.