A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld a man’s conviction for murdering his girlfriend’s 13-month-old son in a Huntington Park apartment three years ago.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the prosecution’s use of a peremptory challenge to dismiss a black juror in the trial of Lamar Ahmad Tatum was racially motivated and that the trial court improperly overruled the defense’s objection.
Tatum — who is black — “failed to make a record of evidence suggesting that the excusal of a single African-American prospective juror suggested discrimination,” the appellate court panel noted in its 13-page ruling.
Tatum was convicted last year of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing the February 2015 death of Majesty Lyles.
He was sentenced last April to 30 years to life in state prison after exchanging obscenities with the victim’s father, getting out of his seat and being restrained on the floor by sheriff’s deputies in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
The boy, who had been crying while Tatum cared for the child and his 2-year-old brother, died of blunt force trauma to the head nearly 10 days after being thrown against a wall in a Huntington Park apartment, according to Deputy District Attorney Pallavi Dhawan.
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry called the case a “very sad and tragic matter.”
Tatum had an October 2011 robbery conviction that added five years to his sentence.
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