A Los Angeles jury Wednesday deliberated murder charges against the alleged gunman in the 2003 shooting death of a man whose decaying body was found in a trash can at a Van Nuys storage shed.
Jeffrey Lawrence Weaver, 37, is accused of firing the fatal shot into the head of Christopher Walsh, also 37. Walsh's longtime friend and roommate David Michael Steinberg, who was accused of participating in the shooting, was convicted of first-degree murder by a separate jury Tuesday and faces life in prison without parole.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephanie Sparagna said Steinberg was a career criminal who had been recruiting white and Latino gangsters from the Nazi Low Riders and other San Fernando Valley gangs to create his own criminal organization. Weaver allegedly was one of the recruits.
"The indication from witnesses' testimony is that Steinberg was trying to create his own 'crew' and wanted to be the leader," Sparagna said.
Walsh and Steinberg were longtime friends who lived together. The violence started, prosecutors said, when Steinberg shot at a neighbor he believed was trying to make off with some goods that Walsh had stolen.
Police issued arrest warrants accusing Walsh and Steinberg in the shooting incident. Soon after, Walsh's family reported him missing.
Steinberg's girlfriend later found Walsh's body in the shed's recycling bin, wrapped in plastic and duct tape. Prosecutors said Steinberg and Weaver shot Walsh because he was a witness to the other shooting, but jurors could not agree on that charge. They did find that Steinberg lay in wait to murder Walsh.
Weaver also faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Two other men charged as accessories have pleaded no contest in the case.