A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 18 years to life in state prison for shooting and murdering a former tagging crew rival in a 7-Eleven parking lot.
The lawyer for Reda Hassan "Big Reda" Safieddine had claimed the then-18-year-old acted in self defense when he fatally shot Valle "Bam Bam" Valeriano, 17, on Aug. 13, 2012, in Fountain Valley.
But a jury on Sept. 18 found Safieddine guilty of one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and one misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy, who had sought a first-degree murder conviction, told jurors Safieddine's beef with Valeriano dated back to 2009 at Los Amigos High School, where "Bam Bam" was beaten by "Big Reda" and his crew.
The pair had a verbal argument a few hours before Safieddine fired one shotgun round into Valeriano outside the 7-Eleven at 16475 Harbor Blvd. The teen died at the scene.
The jury may have settled on the second-degree count because Safieddine's attorney William Elliott had disclosed his client did not run away, that he tried to stop Valeriano's bleeding and that he had his girlfriend call 911. "He didn't want to kill him,'' Elliott told jurors. "The first thing he tells police is, 'I shot him in self defense.'"
The sentence was handed down Wednesday.