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Second man convicted of two murders in drug-related killing


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–An Inglewood man was convicted today of the Easter Sunday 2009 slayings of two men on Skid Row, including an innocent bystander killed in a drug-related murder-for-hire plot.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Lamont Ward, 43, guilty of first-degree murder for the April 12, 2009, shooting deaths of Tommie Hayes, 33, and Kevin Cohen, 49, at a hotel at Stanford Avenue and East 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles.

The seven-woman, five-man jury also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and multiple murders.

Co-defendant Richard Luna, 31, was convicted Tuesday by a separate jury, which found that he had personally discharged a handgun during the commission of the crime. Jurors in his case also found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder for financial gain involving Hayes’ killing.

Both men are facing life in prison without the possibility of parole when they are sentenced Aug. 23 by Judge Lance A. Ito.

Authorities said shortly after Luna and Ward were arrested that Hayes–described by police as a rival drug dealer to Ward–appeared to have been the only target and that Cohen appeared to have been an unplanned victim.

Hayes was shot eight times and Cohen once, apparently by a stray bullet.

“He (Ward) was the one who hired the shooter,” said Deputy District Attorney Scott Marcus, who worked with colleague Dan Akemon on the case.