*You may find it difficult to feel sorry for a person who was caught trying to run away from an attempt to murder someone. After all, had things turned out differently, one or more people might be dead right now.
But 21-year-old Brandon Spencer begged for leniency in court anyway, where he was convicted on four counts of attempted murder for firing shots at a rival gang member at a University of Southern California campus party in 2012.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the defendant didn’t take his sentencing too well.
Shown in the video below, Spencer sobbed and pleaded for leniency in court on Friday, as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edmund W. Clarke Jr. sentenced him to 40 years to life in prison, following his February conviction of the shooting, which occurred at a Halloween party in 2012 -the first on the campus in decades, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In a dramatic courtroom scene, sheriff’s deputies tried to calm Spencer as he banged his head on the defense table upon hearing the news. About 50 supporters and family members sat behind him as he asked Judge Clarke for a second chance, according to the the report.
“I’m sorry for what happened but I can’t spend the rest of my life in prison,” Spencer said through tears, the Times reports. “I’m not just some gang-banger that they portrayed me as.”
Spencer had no criminal record, and he was working as a security guard. He had planned to attend college according to his attorney, John Blanchard. Later in his trial Blanchard even said there was no credible evidence that Spencer was the gunman.
But law enforcement authorities argue that after Spencer arrived at a crowded Halloween party and spotted 22-year-old rival gang member, Geno Hall, he left and returned with a gun. Upon his return, Spencer reportedly shot Hall and continued firing as Hall ran and the crowd dispersed, the Times says. Hall is reported to have shot and wounded Spencer in 2011. He was among four people injured, the report says.
A then 19-year-old Spencer had tried to run after the shooting, but was arrested in a campus parking lot, the report says. Prosecutors said during trial that Spencer deserved a stiff punishment for shooting into a crowd of people in an effort to settle a score with a rival gang member, the Times says.
During sentencing, Judge Clarke denounced gang violence, but rebuffed a request from prosecutors that Spencer be sentenced to consecutive 40-year prison terms for each of the four counts of attempted murder, which adds up to a life sentence, the Times reports. He ruled that the sentences would run concurrently, meaning Spencer could eventually be eligible for parole, the report says.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.