Lady  Justice

A 30-year-old man was charged Friday with capital murder for allegedly shooting a transgender woman during a robbery last December in South Los Angeles.

Robert James Spells is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court in connection with the Dec. 3 killing of Deshawnda Sanchez in the 6100 block of South Wilton Place in the Chesterfield Square area.

The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during the course of a robbery, along with an allegation that Spells personally discharged a handgun.

Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Spells, additionally charged with robbing the 21-year-old Sanchez.

Spells also is charged with one count each of human trafficking of a minor for a sex act, forcible lewd act upon a child and lewd act upon a child and two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child involving an 11-year-old girl. The criminal complaint alleges that those crimes were between Feb. 7 and Feb. 16.

Spells was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a relative’s home in Los Angeles in connection with Sanchez’s killing after being identified as a suspect by detectives, according to Los Angeles police.

Sanchez had called for assistance around 4 a.m. Dec. 3, saying she had been assaulted and robbed. While on the phone, she said the suspect had returned, and shots were then heard. Sanchez died at the scene.

The Operation South Bureau Trafficking Task Force also identified Spells as a suspect in alleged human trafficking involving the 11-year-old girl, police said.

City News Service

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