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One gets death, one life in prison for deadly Compton shootings

October 03, 2013|By Jill Cowan

A gang member who opened fire at a crowded Compton Metro station, killing two and wounding three, was sentenced to death Thursday morning. His co-defendant in the case received life in prison without parole.

Ronald Earl Brim, 48, was convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Debruce Smith and Terry Dozier, along with three counts of attempted murder following a 2012 trial.

Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit and handcuffed to a chair, Brim maintained his innocence throughout the hearing.

"I feel sorry for everybody that got hurt at that train station," he told victims' family members, a few of whom spoke. "Sooner or later we will get to the bottom of it ... I hope it's not too late."

Judge Larry Paul Fidler, in upholding a jury's death penalty recommendation, said the evidence against Brim was "overwhelming," and that the "indiscriminate" nature of the shooting was a major factor in the sentencing.

He read off a long list of Brim's past crimes, which included participating in the kidnapping, torture and killing of a man, as well as selling drugs.

The September 2008 shooting, prosecutors said, was sparked after a third defendant got into an argument with friends of Smith, 20, and Dozier, 24. That third defendant, Richard Roberson, who is awaiting trial, has been accused of calling Brim to the Metro Blue Line station.

Brim, in turn, asked Leo Lloyd Adams -- his co-defendant in the trial -- to bring the gun used in the shooting to the scene, where Roberson had started arguing with Smith and Dozier, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Charles Chaiyarachta. Their friends, he said, had left by that point.

Chaiyarachta said the gun was at least a semi-automatic, and may have been an AK-47. Brim sprayed at least 12 shots into the evening rush-hour crowd.

At the hearing, 13-year-old Carmen Flores-Guerrero, in a letter read to the court, described fleeing the chaos with her mother, who was among those shot.

"My daughter, take my hand," she wrote. "But by then, her hand was full of blood."

Francisca Flores died about a year after the shooting of what the coroner's office ruled were unrelated causes, Chaiyarachta said.

Adams, 31, was also sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.

The judge allowed Adams, who wore a blue jail jumpsuit and black-framed glasses, to exchange a tearful goodbye with about a dozen friends and family members who came to the hearing.

His brother, Ronald Adams, spoke Thursday morning, and said Leo Adams was his "rock" growing up. His brother, he said, was innocent.

He turned to Bruce Smith, who had spoken about losing his son, DeBruce, in a victim impact statement.

"To that man's father, your words cut and they hurt," Ronald Adams said.

"I wanted them to cut and hurt," Bruce Smith replied, looking up.

Judge Fidler said that though "there's no joy in sentencing," the fact that two people died for "no reason other than gang glorification" meant that there could be "no forgiveness" for Adams. 


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Twitter: @jillcowan

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