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DA: 'Seriousness of crime' justified charging teens as adults in killing of Long Beach honors student

An L.A. County prosecutor said his office decided to charge two teens accused of killing a Long Beach honors student as adults because of the "seriousness of the crime."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Dean Bengston told reporters outside a Long Beach court that the district attorney's office charges juveniles as adults only in "rare instances" but that they warranted in this case because of the nature of the shooting and because authorities believe it was gang-related.

"You have to look at the seriousness of the crime," he said.

Tom Love Vinson and Daivion Davis, identified by authorities as 16-year-old gang members, were each charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, according to the district attorney's office.

Vinson and Daivion allegedly opened fire a week ago outside the school, striking and killing Melody Ross, a popular 16-year-old who police said was a bystander.

Two men -- an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old -- were wounded in the shooting, which occurred about 10 p.m. as crowds of students gathered near Ximeno Avenue and 10th Street for a dance. Police believe that the men may have been the intended targets and that the shooting was the result of a gang feud.

Ross was wearing a superhero costume to Wilson's homecoming game against Polytechnic High School. A number of students at the game were decked out in costumes on the day before Halloween.

On Friday night, students and the Wilson High School football team honored Ross. There was beefed-up security on campus.

The suspects are being held on $3-million bail and face life in prison if convicted. They will be arraigned today in Long Beach.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Tom Love Vinson and Daivion Davis. KTLA

Comments () | Archives (19)

You also have to look at the mental processes involved with teenage thinking. The brain isn't fully developed until 25. Which makes one question if these young people even understand the seriousness or consequences of their actions. It's this state of mental development that encourages the military to draft or recruit teenagers in the first place. They generally do not comprehend the totality of the circumstances they are either in or manifesting.

Reservations for two at the California-Department of Corrections, Gas Chamber...Good Riddance...

It doesn't matter if they fully understand the seriousness or consequences of their actions, they just have to know the difference between right and wrong. And guess what, they were wrong for murdering that girl and they knew they were wrong...Open and Shut Case...

Hang em High....

A Nonny Nonny, a vast number of children at a young age understand killing people is wrong. We are not talking about joyriding or shoplifting, but cold blooded murder. Just why do you need to be an adult to know that when you fire a gun, a bullet comes out at high speed and will injure or kill if it stikes someone.

If these two individuals hadn't figured that out by age 10, then there is no hope of rehabilitation and they must forever be kept away from society.

Throw the key away and forget the cell number.

If teenagers don't understand the consequences of firing a gun and killing someone, they probably won't ever function properly in civilized society.

There's more than one tragedy here.

I seriously doubt they will give these two teenagers the death penalty......but I certainly would not let them out of prison for several decades.....if at all.

Lock them up and throw away the key! But the way this judicial system is, they will be out in 25 years and do the same thing again!

Understand the consequences? Sure they do. Care about the consequences? Not at all. Until apologists for gang crime start becoming a little bit more concerned about rooting out the reasons for gang crime; teen pregnancies, drug abuse, zero parenting, and a teen culture that worships the gangsta culture, there will be more of this. Sticking those two morons behind bars is a waste of money, they should have a needle stuck in them instead and be put to sleep like the sick animals they are. Teen gangmembers cannot be redeemed, it's too late. They have such poor people skills that they are incapable of redemption. They need to be eradicated like the vermin scum they all are.

I don't want to sound like I am defending these two... because I AM NOT. I personally think that they should be sentence to death by firing squad. But in all seriousness, bullets have the right of way in all cases. I dont believe that your mind needs to be fully developed to fire a weapon. They were fully aware of the situation. They understand right from wrong, morally and ethically. How would I know this? Well for starters, Tom Vinsons mother moved out of Long Beach in hopes to take her son away from the life he will inevitably live. He decided this fate when he brought that gun to a H.S. football game. His intent was to use it hours before he used it. If there is anything I learned while being in the Army is, if you are going discharge your weapon, you better use it.

It is an unfortunate situation all around, A Nonny Nonny's comment is on point. Some of these folks say "Throw away the key" and "gas chamber"... then complain of the cost of housing offenders like Vinson and Davis.
Surely they will be going to prison (because we don't want to be "soft" on crime) but then what? During the course of them being incarcerated the state will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $875,000 over the next 25 years. They will be released and then what? They will be 40-something, ex-felon, any positive relationships will be lost...and they will be back in society without a way to provide for themselves - is it any wonder that they are destined to recommit? Then what? I am not saying that these young men should not repay society for thier offense, I guess what I am getting at is at what point do we as a society realize that what we have been doing does not work?

I have no idea what that means..."If you're going to discharge your weapon, you'd better use it...." ??????????????????????????

Maybe he meant something like, "If you discharge a weapon, you should be prepared for whatever consequences..." That actually sounds worse than the first gibberish...

these two should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,however, i can only question how this tragedy is any more "special" than the hundreds of other african-american and latino innocent children that were murdered senselessly? for the nays all have been featured here in the homicide blog. sadly, this is a clear representation of the disparity of justice within this criminal justice system. i challenge everyone to have the same type of reverence when ANY innocent child is murdered.

as to the people trying to rationalize the stupidity that is a child with a gun...give me a break! you don't think these idiots knew someone would be killed? that's what they wanted to happen...they just couldn't shoot for crap, duah!?!

You shot you kill you pay. End of story. Be responsible.

To Anonymous: Your observation is correct. That's why we should kill them both after they are found guilty. We save taxpayer money and no longer have the problem of ex-felons on the streets committing more crimes.

"To Anonymous: Your observation is correct. That's why we should kill them both after they are found guilty. We save taxpayer money and no longer have the problem of ex-felons on the streets committing more crimes."

Right after that happens we can rename our country Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or China...

The reason we are better is exactly because we DON'T do that - we are a country ruled by LAW (not justice) and that is why there is something called due process that is afforded to ANYONE within our borders - thanks to the Constitution..

I understand that these boys have done wrong, trust and believe im not taking their side, but they are still young teenage boys who joined a gang probably to fit in, and it the consequences came out for the worst. But they shouldn't be convicted as adults becasue that's something that they aren't. I myself as a teenager understands that the seriouness of the crime is very major, but it shouldnt become a death penalty until they are as of the age to be charged as an adult. I dont believe that they should get just a slap on the wrists because they need to serve some time, but not death. Like the famous quote says " Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" Think about that......

-- It is a relief that these two ugly guys have been charged for this very tragic crime of such a beautiful, full-of-life, young lady. I hope that these two losers live to be 100, and that they spend every moment of their remaining years in prison.

All is lost when people fail to see the good sense in removing bad genes from the gene pool. There are so many bottom-feeders and dirtbags in America now the gene pool has become a mud puddle. How else to explain the pathetic losers making excuses for these murderers?


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