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

November 7, 2009 |  8:27 am

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