5 MEN GET LIFE TERMS IN KIDNAP-MURDER.
Five men were sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for the kidnap-murder of a 7-month-old girl, who died when her captors' getaway car spun out of control and hit a tree in Lancaster.
Sonya Spencer, who stood by helpless Feb. 21, 1995, as her daughter Jainah was taken from her Inglewood home, faced each of the defendants during their sentencing hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court.
``You had knowledge of what you were doing when you got in that car,'' the weeping mother told Kenyon Pitts, who drove the getaway car while being chased by police. ``My baby laid on the back seat, crying until she died.''
Convicted last month of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnap for ransom and other charges were Pitts, 24, Marcel Cloud, 30, Herman St. Amie, 30, Cephus Sudduth, 25, and Ronald Cains, 24.
All five were believed to be gang members, said Deputy District Attorney Eleanor Hunter, although the incident was not gang-related.
The kidnapping started when three of the men found Jainah's father, Robert Davis, on a residential South Central street and robbed him.
Unsatisfied with the amount of money they got, they took Davis to the home of Spencer, his ex-girlfriend, in an attempt to get more cash, Hunter contended during the trial.
After threatening Spencer at gunpoint, they ordered Davis back into their car with Jainah, and drove to Lancaster, where Davis' mother lives, to get more money, Hunter said.
Two of the defendants and Davis went into the woman's home. In the meantime, the other three noticed a sheriff's patrol car headed their way and took off with the baby still in the car.
Pitts reportedly was standing near the getaway car when he saw the patrol car and then got back in the vehicle at the urging of the other men.
``I think everyone in this courtroom wishes he would have just laid down on the ground'' and surrendered to authorities, Hunter told Judge Charles Horan.
Sheriff's deputies chased the suspects' car 10 or 11 miles before it hit a dip in the road at 90th Street East and Avenue J, went airborne, then slammed to the ground and spun toward a tree. The baby was killed on impact, but none of the defendants was seriously hurt.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Dec 19, 1996|
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