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USC Halloween Shooting Suspect Sentenced To 40 Years To Life

Arash Zandi |
April 18, 2014 | 2:28 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

One of the shooting victims was former Crenshaw High School football player Geno Hall. (Wilson Pumpernickel/Flickr)
One of the shooting victims was former Crenshaw High School football player Geno Hall. (Wilson Pumpernickel/Flickr)
Brandon Spencer, 21, was found guilty of shooting four people at a USC Halloween party on campus in October 2012 and has been sentenced today to 40 years to life in prison.

Spencer pleaded not guilty in November 2012 to four counts of attempted murder after opening fire outside the on-campus party hosted by the Black Student Assembly at the Tudor Campus Center.

Spencer broke down and sobbed when the verdict was read.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edmund W. Clarke Jr. had also ruled that Spencer would be eligible for parole after serving 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors argued that the shooting was in retaliation to a gang-related incident that had left Spencer wounded a few years earlier.

The L.A. Times reported that Deputy Dist. Atty. Antonella Nistorescu said Spencer arrived at the crowded Halloween party late at night, identified a member of a Crips-affiliated gang, left and returned with a gun. Spencer then shot at Geno Hall, 22, and continued firing as the crowd scattered, injuring Hall and three others.

READ MORE: I Ran Away From Gunfire: My Firsthand Account Of The USC Halloween Shooting

Clarke said the fact that the shooting occurred on USC's campus swayed his ruling. Six months before the shooting, two USC graduate students were murdered close to campus and that, according to Clarke, “the campus had not yet healed its wounds.” 

Brandon’s father, James Spencer, was outraged at the sentencing. Brandon's family and advocates claim that Brandon was a target and that the sentencing had racial and political implications.

“This was a kangaroo court and USC got away with daylight robbery because USC has power downtown," said James Spencer. "The community came out for Brandon and everybody was represented in court today. USC’s president should know that. It's all politics,"

A close friend and mentor of Brandon’s, Ted Hayes, refuted Clarke's statement that the campus' history with violence and shootings played a role in the judge's decision.

“An injustice happened today. What does the shooting that happened six months ago have to do with anything?" Hayes questioned, outraged. 

Brandon’s attorney, John Blanchard, has filed a motion to appeal his sentence.

"The constitution says that you have to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but there was a lot of doubt in this case. The evidence was looked at, but ignored. He’s guilty because he did it at USC,” added Hayes.


Reach Staff Reporter Arash Zandi here. Follow him on Twitter here.



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