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Gang member in O.C. is guilty of conspiracy

A partial verdict is read in the murder case after a juror is excused for health reasons.

July 03, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A member of the white supremacist gang Public Enemy Number One was convicted Monday of conspiracy to commit murder in the 2002 execution-style killing of a gang founder who had disclosed the organization's secrets on a television news program.

Michael Lamb also was found guilty of possessing a firearm used in the attempted shooting of an Anaheim police officer. The officer was investigating a report of a stolen car in the days after gang member Scott Miller was found dead in an Anaheim alley with a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Lamb's co-defendant, Jacob Rump, was also convicted of the firearm charge.

The partial verdict was read in Orange County Superior Court shortly after a juror, backed by a doctor's note, informed the court he was too ill to continue deliberating.

Juror No. 7 was excused on the sixth day of deliberations. With an alternate replacing him, the jury will start from scratch in deciding on a number of more serious counts against Lamb and Rump, including the first-degree murder charge against both men.

Lamb, the alleged triggerman in Miller's slaying, faces up to life in prison if convicted of conspiracy. He could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

His attorney, Marlin Stapleton, said the partial verdict was a sign that the jury was "obviously not sure" his client killed Miller.

"Who knows what will happen now that Juror No. 7 is gone?" Stapleton said outside the courtroom. "I don't know if he was the one hanging up the jury."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh, the lead prosecutor, declined to comment until the completion of all proceedings in the case.

Miller, 38, was killed in March 2002, about a year after he appeared on Fox News in Los Angeles talking about the gang he helped form.

Lamb and Rump, both of Huntington Beach, were taken into custody three days later after a police chase that ended with Lamb allegedly shooting at -- and missing -- an Anaheim police officer who was one of his pursuers.

Tests showed that the gun was the same weapon used to kill Miller.

According to authorities and testimony during the monthlong trial, Miller helped found Public Enemy Number One in the Long Beach area in the 1980s. The gang, which seeks to "secure the existence of our people and a future for white children," has since spread to Orange County and the Inland Empire.

With an estimated 300 members across Southern California, the group's operations allegedly include drug dealing, identity thefts, forgeries and counterfeiting.

christine.hanley@latimes.com

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