Pierre Romain, 53, was tied to the shooting death of 21-year-old Jade Clark by cold case detectives using DNA from a .25-caliber slug.
The seven-man, five-woman jury panel also found true an allegation that Romain personally used a gun.
After jurors left the courtroom, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler ordered Romain to be taken directly into custody while awaiting sentencing, set for Sept. 15.
“It’s too dangerous to tempt him to flee,” Fidler said, as Romain handed some items from his suit pockets to his lawyer and deputies handcuffed the defendant.
Clark’s mother, Yolanda S., who asked that her last name not be used, cried quietly as the verdict was read and thanked jurors as a group outside the courtroom.
“This has been a 30-year journey,” Yolanda said. “You’ll never, ever, ever have any idea of how thankful I am.”
One juror stepped up and hugged her.
Prosecutors said Romain was a 22-year-old gang member at the time of the June 29, 1987, killing. Police said Romain had just crashed a friend’s customized Nissan 300 ZX and then he and an accomplice tried to take a nearly identical model from Clark, who was parked at 845 N. Highland Avenue.
Romain traded shots with Clark, who had a .25-caliber pistol under his seat, police said.
Romain was shot in the arm and Clark was fatally wounded.
Romain and an accomplice were arrested and charged about a month after the shooting, but the charges were dismissed at a preliminary hearing based on insufficient evidence. At the time of that first arrest, Romain was an active candidate for a job as a Los Angeles Police Department officer.
Romain was arrested again in 2003, while employed as a police officer at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo.
At the time of his 2003 arrest, Romain had applied for a job with the San Francisco Police Department. A call from SFPD background investigators prompted LAPD Detective Rick Jackson to reexamine physical evidence from the cold case shooting.
More sophisticated DNA testing technology allowed detectives to use a bullet fired from Clark’s gun to tie Romain to the case.
Romain’s defense attorney, Winston Kevin McKesson, denied that his client was ever a gang member.
“He was a trained policeman … Everything he did was inconsistent with gang membership,” McKesson said during closing arguments.
McKesson said his client’s career was left “in limbo” as a result of the “false allegations” against him.
Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef said the DNA evidence was undeniable.
“There is no getting around the DNA,” Mokayef told jurors.
Yolanda S. praised cold case detectives for never giving up on her son’s case.
“It does work .. delay doesn’t mean denied,” she said.
–City News Service
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