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Compton Man Guilty in Slaying

August 28, 1986|JAN KLUNDER | Times Staff Writer

A Compton man who reportedly commuted to Pacoima six days a week to sell narcotics was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder in the February shooting death of an employee who allegedly stole $20 from him.

The man, Roderick Earl Daniels, 27, faces a maximum of 27 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced Sept. 23 by San Fernando Superior Court Judge Ronald S. W. Lew.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Shellie Samuels argued to the jury that Daniels shot Darren Moss, 21, of Pacoima, a salesman in his drug operation, because Moss had withheld $20 from him after completing a drug sale.

Samuels asserted that Daniels had five sellers working for him on a commission basis and murdered Moss to deter the others from skimming money. Witnesses testified that Daniels sold drugs in Pacoima six days a week, taking Sundays off.

Daniels testified that Moss was shot accidentally after Moss threatened him and they struggled.

Middleman in Drug Deal

Moss acted as the middleman in a cocaine transaction Feb. 25, Daniels said. Moss brought him the money but then pulled out a gun and tried to rob him, leading to the struggle, Daniels said.

Daniels said he dumped the body on a Foothill Freeway off-ramp at Maclay Street and threw the gun in the water near the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The gun was never recovered, police said.

Daniels acknowledged that Moss owed him $20 from a previous drug deal but denied that he killed Moss over the financial dispute.

Police were led to Daniels by a witness who saw Moss get into his car on the night of the shooting, Samuels said.

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