A screenshot from a video release by Long Beach Police that they say shows Jamal Darby inside a liquor where he stole clothes before killing a clerk who chased him down in 2020.

Jurors on Thursday convicted a 35-year-old Los Angeles man of murder for killing a liquor store employee who chased him down and clung to the hood of his getaway car after an attempted theft.

Authorities said 57-year-old Victor Talavera hung onto the front of Jamal Darby’s car for about three blocks after Darby stole socks and T-shirts from the store near Anaheim Street and Magnolia Avenue on July 23, 2020. Eventually, Darby shook off Talavera, who fell into the lanes of traffic where he was hit by a car and died, police said.

Jurors deliberated for less than a day before reaching a verdict and finding Darby guilty of second-degree murder. He was found not guilty of robbery.

Darby, who was 33 at the time of the killing, will be sentenced on Dec. 13. He faces 15 years to life in prison.

During closing arguments in the trial last week, prosecutors said Darby went into the store with the intention of stealing several clothing items. Images from a camera inside the store showed Darby carrying socks and T-shirts inside the store. Video footage captured him then running down the street where prosecutors said he had parked his car in preparation for the crime.

Talavera, who was working at the store that night, chased Darby in an attempt to recover the items, prosecutors said. That’s when Talavera jumped onto the hood of the getaway car before Darby drove off, according to Deputy District Attorney Karen Brako.

In response, Darby “deliberately drove fast and swerved to get Talavera off the car,” Brako told jurors. “If you know someone is on your car, you stop. You don’t take off at a high rate of speed.”

Eventually, Talavera was thrown off the vehicle and fell into the eastbound lanes of Anaheim Street before Darby took off. Darby was arrested about three weeks later near his home while driving the car that detectives believe was used in the crime, according to prosecutors.

Darby never disputed that he intended to steal from the store that night. But his attorney, Andrea Diaz, argued that because he dropped the items before getting into his car and driving off with Talavera on the hood, it wasn’t a robbery.

Diaz placed the blame on Talavera, saying he made the “decision to jump onto a car for some T-shirts.”

“If Talavera had just chased the guy and taken the license plate number and reported it to the police, then it would be petty theft,” she said.

Additionally, Diaz argued that Darby didn’t have time to consider the ramifications of his actions, meaning he shouldn’t be convicted of murder because he didn’t show “deliberate and conscious disregard for human life.”

“He didn’t have time to contemplate the decision … He swerved to get a guy off his car,” Diaz said. “He couldn’t have anticipated Talavera jumping on his car.”

Brako countered by telling jurors they were there to judge Darby’s actions, not Talavera’s.

“We aren’t here to shame him for his actions,” Brako said. “You cannot disregard the law because of what the defense attorney thinks.”

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