A gang member convicted of two shootings in Lennox that occurred about three hours apart, including one that left a man dead and his wife seriously wounded, was sentenced Friday to 80 years to life in state prison.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe imposed the term on Otoniel Ventura-Leon, 29, who was one of five gang members convicted Sept. 27 of first-degree murder for the Nov. 9, 2015, slaying of Kenneth Campos, 37, and the attempted murder of his wife, who was wounded as the homeless couple was at the back door of a doughnut shop to pick up day-old doughnuts from a storekeeper willing to help them.
Jurors also found Ventura-Leon and the other gang members guilty of the attempted murder of another man, who was shot and wounded about three hours earlier, along with a conspiracy charge.
Lebanon Fifita — whom jurors found had personally discharged a handgun in the attack on Campos and his wife — was sentenced last Nov. 30 to 106 years to life in state prison. Fifita, 44, is appealing his conviction.
Co-defendants Calvin Leonard Tonga, 27; Fonuamana Ofeina Fuahala, 26; and Samisoni Ilifeleti Lauaki, 21; are still awaiting sentencing in connection with Campos’ murder and the two attempted murders.
A sixth defendant, Taniela Fonoifua, 26, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the Oct. 6, 2015, slaying of Sheila Gomez, 40, in Lennox and the Oct. 17, 2015, death of Adalberto Salcedo III, 15, in Carson, along with two counts of attempted murder involving a man with Gomez and a separate shooting on Jan. 26, 2016, in Gardena. Jurors also found Fonoifua guilty of one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and found true allegations that he personally discharged a gun during each of the crimes.
Jurors found true gang allegations against all six men.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Steggell told jurors during the trial that the six defendants are members of a “violent, ruthless criminal street gang” made up primarily of Pacific Islanders who committed a string of shootings in Lennox, Gardena and Carson.
“(They) go out hunting. It’s sport for them,” the prosecutor said in her opening statement.
The prosecutor told jurors that the evidence against the six included wiretapped calls, text messages and cell phone data to pinpoint the defendants’ locations at the time of the murders, telling jurors that the men shared motive and a “hunting mentality.”
Like other gangs, they commit “graffiti, robberies, burglaries, assault with deadly weapons and murder,” but the difference with the defendants’ gang is that they “will shoot anybody,” Steggell told jurors.
Four of the victims were homeless.
Along with the three victims who were killed, four people were wounded in the series of shootings.
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