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Gang member in jail for murder is investigated in cellmate's death

Jamar Lavon Tucker told deputies during a security check Thursday that he had just killed his cellmate, a member of the same gang who was awaiting felony trial, L.A. County sheriff's officials say.

March 10, 2010|By Richard Winton

A Compton gang member already sentenced to life in prison for murder and awaiting trial in a second slaying is being investigated in the strangling of his Twin Towers jail cellmate.

Jamar Lavon Tucker, 28, was found inside his two-man cell next to the body of William Levell Hansbrough during a security check Thursday at the downtown L.A. jail, officials said.

Tucker told deputies he had just killed his cellmate, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. A coroner's autopsy determined Hansbrough's death was homicide by strangulation.

Deputies found Hansbrough, 36, covered with a sheet inside the cell that is part of a gang module. Whitmore said sheriff's homicide investigators expect to present a case to prosecutors in the near future.

According to sheriff's officials, Tucker and Hansbrough are part of the "same gang" and in the "same security level" and had shared a cell for more than a month before the slaying.

Hansbrough was scheduled to go to trial next month on charges of felony gun possession and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Tucker is scheduled to go to trial May 10 in the 2005 slaying of Kevin Watts. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty if he is convicted in that case, officials said.

Two years ago in San Bernardino County, Tucker was convicted of murder and attempted murder in a carjacking and home-invasion robbery in Redlands, court records show. He received a life sentence.

Redlands police described Tucker as a member of the 107th Street Hoover Crips in Los Angeles who went by the name "Baby Hoover Ray."

Tucker and three other men carjacked a car restoration expert in L.A. and forced him to drive to his Redlands home.

Once there, the carjackers fatally shot the man's cousin, wounded his mother and stole thousands of dollars in cash, according to police. As they drove back to L.A., Tucker shot the carjacking victim, according to authorities. The man pretended to be dead and was dumped in Fullerton.

richard.winton @latimes.com

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