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COMPTON : Man Gets 46 Years to Life for 5th Felony Conviction

May 10, 1995

A South-Central Los Angeles man was sentenced to 46 years to life under the state's "three strikes" law Tuesday for holding up a neighborhood shoe store last year.

Compton Superior Court Judge Steven Suzukawa imposed the sentence on O'Brien Love, 47, despite arguments by Love's attorney that the crime was not intended to harm customers in the store. Suzukawa cited the increasingly violent nature of Love's four previous felonies in denying a plea for a lighter sentence.

The "three strikes" law requires a sentence of at least 25 years in prison on the third felony conviction. Suzukawa added five years for each of Love's prior felonies, which included a second-degree murder conviction.

Love, wielding a four-inch knife, robbed a Payless Shoe Store of $52 in April, 1994. He was arrested just blocks away after the shoe store manager and a police officer spotted him.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Georgia Sullivan Huerta argued that although Love may not have intended to harm anyone during the robbery, the heavy sentence was warranted.

"He is a definite threat to society and the type of criminal that this law should apply to," she said.

Defense attorney William Sadler said that in the long run the sentence will not benefit taxpayers.

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