The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Jury Finds the Killing of Cheryl Green to be a Hate Crime

Two members of the 204th Street gang were convicted of first-degree murder in a hate crime trial surrounding the death of a 14-year-old black girl. The Los Angeles Times reported that 14-year-old Cheryl Green was killed in December 2006 while she was hanging out with her friends in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles.

A Los Angeles jury recently found 22-year-old Johnathan Fajardo and 23-year-old Daniel Aguilar guilty of first-degree murder in the case of Cheryl Green's death. The jury also found that the two Latino men killed the girl because she was black. Thus, the two men were found guilty of committing a hate crime.

In addition to the two gang members being convicted of killing Cheryl Green, the men were also convicted of participating in the murder of potential witness Christopher Ash. Johnathan Fajardo was also convicted of attempted murder for shooting people that were next to Cheryl Green at the time that she was shot.

Authorities believe that the killing of Cheryl Green was just one of a number of slayings in the Harbor Gateway area that were racially motivated. The girl's death has since ignited community outrage about gang violence and the racial tensions between Latinos and African Americans. Yet the Los Angeles criminal defense attorney representing Johnathan Fajardo disputed the allegation of the murder case being a hate crime and stated that the killing was not motivated by race at all. The lawyer called the murder an "accident that rose of fear and anger" in the Los Angeles Times.

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