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Shooting suspect pleads not guilty in murder of Compton youth pastor

January 4, 2013 |  2:37 pm

A memorial poster for Oscar Duncan signed by friends and family. The youth pastor was murdered in June. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A reputed gang member accused of fatally shooting a popular Compton youth pastor in June pleaded not guilty Friday to murder charges.

Hopeton Parsley, 23, a Playboy Gangster Crip, according to police, was charged with shooting Oscar Duncan, 23, on a Venice street. His bail was set at $2 million and a preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 28, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Co-defendants Kevin Dwayne Green, 29, and Nichole Sheran, 18, were each previously charged with one count of murder with gang enhancements.

Police believe about four males drove up to Duncan and jeered at his girlfriend as the two stood on a Venice street. The assailants shouted a gang name as one of them fired a single shot, striking Duncan in the head, police said.

Duncan was homecoming king and football captain at Venice High School and a youth minister at his Compton church. Police had said they believed the act was random. Duncan was not in a gang and had no criminal record, authorities said.

If convicted Parsley faces at least 50 years to life in state prison, the district attorney's office said.

Inmate records show Parsley was arrested in January by Culver City police and released from jail in April. Culver City police Lt. Ron Iizuka said Parsley was charged with one count each of domestic violence, assault and making criminal threats.

Green was charged with second-degree robbery in a separate incident May 21, along with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is expected to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Jan. 28 for a pretrial conference.

Sheran, who pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, returns to court Feb. 20 for a preliminary hearing.


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-- Adolfo Flores

Photo: A memorial poster for Oscar Duncan signed by friends and family. The youth pastor was killed in June. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times