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Compton gang member suspected of strangling his Twin Towers jail cellmate

March 9, 2010 |  8:48 am

A Compton gang member already sentenced to life in prison for murder and awaiting trial in a second slaying is being investigated for allegedly strangling his Twin Towers jail cellmate.

Jamar Lavon Tucker, 28, was found Thursday morning inside a two-man cell next to the body of William Levell Hansbrough during a security check at the county jail in downtown Los Angeles, officials said.

Tucker allegedly told deputies that he had just killed his cellmate, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. A coroner’s autopsy determined Hansbrough’s death was homicide by strangulation.

Deputies found Hansbrough, 36, covered with a sheet inside the cell that is part of a gang module. Whitmore said sheriff’s homicide investigators expect to present a case to prosecutors in the near future. According to sheriff officials, Tucker and Hansbrough are part of the “same gang” and were listed as the “same security level” and had shared a cell for more than month before the slaying.

Hansbrough was slated to go to trial next month for felony gun possession and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Tucker was being held at the jail because he is slated to go on trial May 10 for the 2005 murder of Kevin Watts. Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty against Tucker if he is convicted in that case, officials said.

Tucker was convicted two years ago of a murder and attempted murder along with three other men, court records show. During the trial for the April 2005 home invasion robbery and carjacking in Redlands, Tucker pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder. Tucker received a life sentence.

When Redlands police arrested Tucker, they described him as a member of the L.A. gang the 107th Street Hoover Crips who goes by the name “Baby Hoover Ray.” Tucker, along with three other men, carjacked a car restoration expert and then forced him to drive them to his Redlands home.

Once there, the men fatally shot the carjacking victim’s 28-year-old cousin and wounded his 51-year-old mother. They then stole thousands of dollars in cash, according to police. As they drove back to L.A., Tucker shot the carjacking victim, according to authorities. The man faked he was dead and was dumped in Fullerton.

-- Richard Winton