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Second gang member convicted for East Tampa killing

TAMPA — A second Raw Dawgz gang member was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole for a 2007 drive-by shooting that killed an East Tampa man.

A Hillsborough County jury found LaBronx Bailey, 19, of Riverview, guilty of first-degree murder after deliberating for three hours. Prosecutors had spent two days presenting evidence that Bailey orchestrated the shooting that left 19-year-old Andre Coachman dead as he walked to the store with his brother and a friend.

"We're just glad it's over and the accused got what they got," said Coachman's mother, Sharon James, calling Bailey the ringleader.

Bailey stood motionless beside defense attorney Ronald Kurpiers II as he heard the verdict. Relatives, who had attended trial all week, weren't there to hear it or speak on Bailey's behalf before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles sentenced him.

In August, Battles also sentenced Esteban Rivera, 17, to life in prison after his murder conviction.

Prosecutors said Bailey and Rivera, along with Tra Evan Lineberger, 17, fired shots at Coachman outside a home along E Caracas Street.

Forensic investigators couldn't tell whether the fatal shot came from a .357-caliber Magnum used by Bailey or Rivera's 9mm pistol.

Assistant State Attorney Scott Harmon argued at both trials that the distinction didn't matter.

Legally, both men were responsible for Coachman's death, Harmon said.

Lineberger used a 12-gauge shotgun and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for 28 years in prison.

Prosecutors blamed the shooting on a neighborhood rivalry that Bailey had with a group known as the 32nd Street Boys.

Bailey also wanted revenge against some people in Coachman's neighborhood who Bailey believed had beaten up his cousin, Harmon said.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Second gang member convicted for East Tampa killing 10/08/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 8, 2009 11:03pm]
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