Two gang members were sentenced Wednesday for the killing of a mentally disabled teenager over a pair of red shoes.
On Oct. 24, Kanasho Shadrick Johns, 29, and Kevin Deon Johnson, 26, were found guilty of one count each of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 19-year-old Tavin Price at a South Los Angeles car wash on May 29, 2015. Both men were sentenced to 50 years in prison, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Price, who had suffered a brain injury at the age of 3, was at the car wash with his mother, Jennifer Rivers, and a family friend. As Rivers vacuumed out her car, Price and the family friend went into a nearby smoke shop, where Johnson and another man, 31-year-old Dwight Kevin Smith, were inside.
Smith confronted Price about the red Chuck Taylors he was wearing. Price remained silent, and the family friend explained that Price had a mental disability and was not a gang member.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Johnson, a member of a Crips gang, said he was going to get a gun because he thought Price was a Bloods gang member.
Surveillance videos showed that 10 minutes later, Johnson sat across the street in a black Lexus while Johns stood nearby. Smith stood near the smoke shop. Johns ran across the street into the alley of the car wash and fired four times into Price's back.
Smith, Johnson and Johns were all charged with murder. Smith later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and testified against Johnson and Johns in court.
In court Wednesday, Johnson and Johns were sentenced to 50 years in prison, and Johns, who fired the fatal shots, received an additional three years for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced next week and could face 12 years in prison.
Jennifer Rivers addressed her son’s killers in the courtroom.
“You have children that you care about and miss you,” she said, addressing the killers. “I pray you never get to see them again. I will never see my son again, either. All I have left are old pictures from his funeral.”
“In this moment, you don’t realize the ramifications of your actions, but perhaps one day will understand when you are old,” Judge Charlaine Olmedo said to Johns and Johnson. "You have destroyed your lives, as well as the lives of your families and children.”
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.