An Oct. 7 sentencing date is set for a South Los Angeles gang member prosecuted in federal court in connection with the slaying of an unarmed man gunned down in front of his 2-year-old son.
Rondale “Pueblo Grump” Young, 36, faces a life sentence when sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in downtown Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A federal jury on Tuesday found Young guilty of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — RICO — in relation to the Aug. 2, 2009, murder of Francisco Cornelio, a 23-year-old man with no gang affiliation who was shot to death at point-blank range while vacuuming his car as his young son watched.
The jury also found Young guilty of conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering — known as VICAR — VICAR murder, and possessing, using and discharging a firearm resulting in death in relation to a crime of violence.
According to the evidence presented during the two-week trial, on the day of Cornelio’s murder, Young, accompanied by other armed gang members, drove his car into rival gang territory, seeking retaliation for the fatal drive-by shooting of a fellow gang member.
Cornelio was targeted simply because he was of Latino descent and was in rival gang territory, evidence showed. Local authorities originally charged Young in 2009 with killing Cornelio, but he was acquitted by a state jury.
An August 2010 indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court charged Young and 44 other members and associates of the gang with being members of a criminal enterprise that engaged in drug dealing, firearms trafficking, murder, witness intimidation and armed robbery as part of the gang’s efforts to control and terrorize the Pueblo Del Rio Housing Projects in South Los Angeles.
In 2013, Young was convicted of racketeering charges in the indictment and Cornelio’s murder and was sentenced to life in federal prison. That conviction was vacated in 2017 by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which cited evidentiary errors during the first trial. The case was sent back to the district court for a retrial. Young has been in federal custody since the 2010 indictment.
With Young’s conviction, all 45 defendants charged in the case have been convicted of federal RICO and related charges, and have been held responsible for multiple murders, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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