California (The Gaslamp Post) – Parents of a 17-year-old girl are due back in court after being accused of killing a known Los Angeles gang-member, who they believed was selling their daughter’s body on the street. Along with the couple, another family member and family friend have also been charged.
Barry Gilton, 39, and his long-time girlfriend Lupe Mercado, 38 have been charged with murder and conspiracy in connection with the June 4, 2012 shooting death of Calvin Sneed, 22. Also facing similar charges are Gilton’s cousin Antonio Gilton, 27, and family friend Alfonso Williams, 36.
According to the SF Gate, Gilton’s daughter met Sneed when she was sent to live with her father’s cousin after having behavioral problems at home. She was reported to have run away after that time and it was then that she was believed to have met Sneed.
The girls mother was alerted to her daughter’s activities after discovering online advertisements for the girls “services,” as well as various Tweets which described what she was doing.
“Mr. Gilton made every effort that he could to convince his daughter to come home, and he made every effort that he felt was reasonable to inform the authorities and seek assistance,” said Eric Safire, Gilton’s attorney.
“Here’s a young man trying to take care of his family and provide for them, and something like this will happen where he has to save his daughter,” Maxine Jones, a cousin of Gilton, said outside court. “I’m just hurt and I hope that justice swings in his favor and Lupe’s favor.”
The girl’s parents were able to get her to return home on June 3rd after her grandmother had to be hospitalized. She reportedly texted Sneed, asking him to come and get her during the early hours of June 4th.
Surveillance-camera footage showed that before the girl left, Barry Gilton drove to the 1400 block of Grove Street, where Williams lived, prosecutors said. Williams and Antonio Gilton arrived in a car a short time later, and Williams got out and allegedly handed a gun to Barry Gilton.
At 1:55 a.m., Sneed texted the daughter, “Come out.” At 1:57 a.m., her mother called Barry Gilton, allegedly alerting the men that their target was outside, according to the prosecution.
As he arrived, Sneed was shot to death by someone in a passing SUV. “They didn’t have to do this to him, they didn’t have to do him like that,” the daughter cried at the scene, according to witnesses.
Defense attorneys for the accused are pointing out that Sneed had many enemies, and still had a bullet in his body as a result of a drive-by shooting last year. The judge in the case has ruled that all 4 must face the charges separately.
Gilton and Mercado are currently held on $2 million bond and face a possible 25 years in prison. They are due back in court March 27, 2013.