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Gang member gets 155 years in slaying of honors student Melody Ross

December 19, 2011 | 10:54 am

Melody Ross funeral

A Bellflower teenager received a 155-year prison sentence Monday for fatally shooting Wilson High School student Melody Ross  outside a homecoming football game.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Kim handed down the maximum sentence to Tom Love Vinson, 18, in a Long Beach courtroom, a court official said.

Vinson was convicted of firing at a group of students at the Long Beach high school on Oct. 30, 2009, following a football game.

Ross, 16, was killed in the shooting. A track athlete and honor student, Ross was an innocent bystander, police said. Two men were wounded in the shooting.

Vinson's co-defendant, Daivion Davis, 17, was sentenced in September to eight years and four months in juvenile custody. He pleaded no contest to charges of manslaughter and attempted murder.

Both Vinson and Davis were on probation at the time. Vinson argued he was threatened by rival gang members, who had been targeting him since he switched gangs. He said he was defending himself in the shooting.


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 -- Sam Quinones

Photo: Melody Ross' aunt, Sary Choeun, left, and her parents, Chantha and Vanareth, watch as the teenager's casket is lowered into the ground Nov. 14, 2009, at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times