A Van Nuys gang member was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his involvement in the slaying of a Woodland Hills man who chased three teen-agers after they stole beer from an Encino convenience store.
Although Jose Murillo, 19, did not pull the trigger, he provided the gun that a 14-year-old fellow gang member used to kill Christopher Lee Brown on April 12, 1992. Murillo was convicted last month of first-degree murder.
A Van Nuys Superior Court jury heard evidence that Murillo acted with "reckless disregard" when he told the gunman to shoot as Brown, 24, chased them after their "beer run" at a 7-Eleven store near the intersection of Burbank Boulevard and White Oak Avenue.
Asking for the maximum sentence, several of Brown's relatives gave emotional testimony to Judge Sandy Kriegler.
"I hate you very much, Jose, along with the other gang member punks, for taking the life of my brother on my twenty-second birthday," Amy Brown said.
Donna and Dennis Brown said their son aspired to be a police officer, and this helps explain why he chased the three youths who ran from the store carrying cartons of beer. Christopher Brown was honored posthumously with a District Attorney's Courageous Citizen award.
The 14-year-old shooter is being held by the California Youth Authority. The third youth who stole beer, a 16-year-old girl, testified against Murillo in exchange for a plea bargain in which prosecutors dropped murder charges.
A fourth person, Juan P. Hernandez, 20, of Reseda, is accused of being the getaway driver and is scheduled to go on trial in October.