A wealthy white California teen walked free Monday after he was acquitted in the South L.A. gang murder of an innocent Black man last year.
A jury found 18-year-old Cameron Terrell not guilty of first-degree murder, even after he admitted to being the getaway driver for two gang members accused of fatally shooting college student Justin Holmes in October, CBS Los Angeles reported. Prosecutors argued that Terrell, a resident of the wealthy Palos Verdes Estates, was a member of a majority-Black gang, and went by the nickname “white boy.”
“Cameron Terrell did not possess any weapons, he did not shoot anybody, he was not part of any conspiracy, or any plan or plot … At best, the evidence suggests that Cameron was a witness,” defense attorney Jovan Blackwell said, adding that his client made a good story because of his “background, his family, where he resides, his school.”
Terrell also faced two additional counts of attempted murder in the case.
In court, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Adan Montalban argued Terrell knew exactly what was coming when his fellow gang members gunned down Holmes, 22, who they suspected of being a rival gang member encroaching on their territory. Terrell reportedly parked the getaway car — his father’s car — out of sight so his friends could ambush the young man.
There was also recorded video showing Terrell and his fellow gang members kicking over candles at a makeshift memorial honoring Holmes, according to the station.
Still, his defense attorney argued the teen never would’ve driven his “daddy’s car” had he known there was going to be a shooting. Blackwell added that Terrell, who appeared in the background of several rap videos, shouldn’t be punished or criticized for having an “open mind” about befriending folks from different backgrounds who “… walk a different path.”
Terrell faced a $5 million bond, $500,000 of which his parents paid in cash to get him out of jail before trial.
“Rest in peace, Justin Holmes! You shouldn’t have gone that day!” he shouted into the camera as he left the courtroom Monday. “I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. God knows what really happened that day, and God knows what was in my head that day.”
The two Black teens who were in the car with Terrell are still awaiting trial.