Two gang members pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder for killing a former student inside Fairfax High School last September during a fight over the use of a public telephone.
Antoine (Tony) Thompson, 18, was shot in the back while he was in the school to visit a special education teacher who had helped him cope with dyslexia, a reading disorder.
Shawn Christopher Boykin, 18, and Andre West, 17, could be sentenced to 16 years to life, Deputy Dist. Atty. Loren M. Naiman said. Under that sentence, they would be committed to the California Youth Authority until they reach 25 and then serve the remainder of their term in state prison.
Option Other Than Prison
But since Boykin and West were juveniles when the crime occurred, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David A. Horowitz also has the option of forgoing a state prison term and restricting the sentence to a Youth Authority commitment, Naiman said. Under that sentence, they would be released when they reach age 25 and their criminal records would be expunged.
The prosecutor said he will "vehemently oppose" a sentence that excluded state prison because of the nature of the crime. "It's a horrible shock to the community that anything like that could happen in their schools," Naiman said.
Thompson was killed about 2:15 p.m. Sept. 12, 1986, just after he visited teacher Linda Brooks to get advice on courses at West Los Angeles College, where he had just enrolled. It was Brooks who made it possible for him to go to college, his grandmother, Albirtha Anderson said.
Naiman said Boykin and Thompson quarreled over the use of the telephone on the ground floor of the school. The two gang members chased the victim and a friend upstairs. After some verbal wrangling, Boykin and Thompson began wrestling, and at some point, a gun fell out of Boykin's pocket or was thrown to the floor, Naiman said.
3 Shots Fired
With Boykin yelling "Gat him, cuz"--gang parlance for "shoot him"--West grabbed the gun and fired three shots at Thompson, Naiman said. One bullet entered the youth's back and pierced his heart.
Both West, who also pleaded guilty to an unrelated June, 1986, auto theft, and Boykin were ordered back in court Oct. 28 when they will be sent to a Youth Authority facility for a 90-day diagnostic study, Horowitz said.
Outside the courtroom, Anderson, who along with her husband Lewis raised Thompson, said she was glad to be spared the ordeal of a trial for her grandson's killers. But she expressed hope that the defendants will be sent to state prison and that school security will be improved.
"It's a horrible thing for children to go to school and fear for their lives," she said.