Larry Stewart, the vicious crime machine who murdered the quiet, innocent, liquor store owner Sang Yun “Sam” Kim, severely beating and choking the South Los Angeles shopkeeper with his own belt — then chemically burning him with bleach — has escaped Death Row.
Stewart's family commented to L.A. news outlets several hours ago about how “happy” they are that District Attorney Steve Cooley's prosecutors won't seek the death penalty now that a jury has deadlocked — thanks to just a single holdout juror who voted against Death Row.
Eleven jurors voted to send Stewart to Death Row over the murder, committed in broad daylight in South Los Angeles. Not enough votes, by one. Here's what happened:
Sam Kim was found dead on the afternoon of April 24, 2005, his mutilated body sprawled inside Kimbo's Liquor and Jr. Market.
At first, the Los Angeles County Coroner couldn't even tell if Kim had been shot, or beaten.
Two days later, acting on a tip, LAPD Newton Division homicide detectives arrested Stewart and an alleged accomplice, and found evidence in Stewart's apartment linking lifelong bad guy Stewart to the crime.
The senseless murder resulted in Stewart's conviction for first-degree murder, second-degree robbery, second-degree commercial burglary and unlawful taking of a vehicle.
The jury also agreed with the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery and murder during the commission of a burglary.
But the DA several days ago told Superior Court Judge David S. Wesley they're not going after the death penalty a third time.
One jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of a death sentence. The second had just the one holdout.
Stewart is a crime machine, well-known to cops and the prison system. He has previously been convicted of manslaughter, robbery and sexual assault.
Kim's bereaved family members in Los Angeles have not stepped forward this week to talk about their own feelings.
Almost certainly, they are not “happy.”
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