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Getaway driver sentenced to 50 years to life in case of slain police officer

September 18, 2009 |  4:50 pm
A getaway driver who was involved in the killing of an L.A. County police captain five years ago pleaded guilty to first-degree murder today and was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

Orvis Camillo Anthony, 24, entered the plea shortly before the start of his preliminary hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Compton regarding the killing of Capt. Michael Sparkes.

According to Deputy Dist. Atty. Phillip Stirling, Anthony pleaded once before and had testified at the preliminary hearing of his co-defendant, Miguel Angel Magallon. The plea was withdrawn at Magallon’s trial earlier this year when Anthony refused to testify. Instead, prosecutors used Anthony’s earlier testimony. Magallon was convicted and the jury recommended death.

Stirling said Anthony waived the five years he has spent behind bars, meaning his 50-year-to-life term starts today. He will not be eligible for a parole hearing until serving about 85% of the 50 years.

Sparkes, 53, was fatally shot Aug. 10, 2004, as he was riding his bicycle in the Rosewood area near Compton. The shooting occurred about 5:30 a.m. at Redondo Beach and Avalon boulevards.

Sparkes was shot nine times with an AK-47 assault rifle. He was on the ground trying to use his cellphone to call 911 as he was being shot to death. Magallon is due to be sentenced to death next month.

-- Richard Winton