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Gang Member Sentenced for 2003 Pico Killing

By Lookout Staff

January 25 -- More than three years after the shooting death of Jalonnie Carter, the 19-year-old Santa Monican's alleged killer was sentenced to more than 50 years in prison for the crime.

Mathew Felix Vargas, aka "Lil Rooster," was sentenced Tuesday by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to 53 years to life after being convicted in the September 2, 2003 murder of Carter in the Pico Neighborhood.

A firearm and other evidence led to the charges against Vargas, who was also charged with "gang enhancement," three counts of personal use of a gun causing great bodily injury and intentional discharge of a firearm, according to police.

Carter was shot by a .22-caliber handgun, as he stood near the small apartment he shared with his mother and stepfather, police said. He was shot in the back and the bullet struck his heart

By the time Santa Monica Police arrested Vargas in April of 2005, the hunt for Cater’s killer had grabbed headlines, with his mother complaining that police were taking too long and not doing enough to capture her son’s killer.

According to documents filed by the District Attorney, Vargas was engaged in "gang activity" in an alley on the 1800 block of 20th Street when he shot Carter

The murder, the complaint said, was "for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist in criminal conduct.”






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