Trial begins for Monrovia pair accused of slaying Sammantha Salas

BURBANK – More than two years after 16-year-old Sammantha Salas was gunned during a string of racially charged gang shootings in Monrovia, jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of two men charged with her murder.

“Well, it’s finally happening,” said Janette Chavez, Salas’ mother.

The teenager was shot to death by two masked gunman in January 2008 as part of what investigators believe was a string of retaliatory shootings between a black and Latino gangs in Monrovia.

Two cousins, 28-year-old Nickelis Blackwell and 24-year-old Rayshawn Blackwell, are accused of shooting Salas to death as she was walking with a friend near her father’s home in unincorporated Monrovia.

Chavez spent Monday waiting for a jury to be picked, and she said that based on the evidence she heard in the preliminary hearing, she hopes that jury convicts both Blackwells of murder.

“I want them in prison for the rest of their lives so another family doesn’t have to suffer the loss that we did,” Chavez said.

The trial was moved to Burbank last week because no courtrooms in Pasadena were prepared to handle a case that attorneys believe could last three weeks, prosecutors said.

A witness in the preliminary hearing for the Blackwells said the cousins confessed to the crime the night of the shooting.

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  • c m blackwell

    I’m so sick of everyone thinking they know everything about the case.. Those boys are innocent and I hope they get a fair trial.. We love you and have faith..


    really innocent lol please… they shouldn’t even get a trial they should send em straight to prison they should of thought about that before they did that to sammy they deserve to die.. they took our faith when they killed her

  • ms. ach

    When you are worried && you find that you are faced with struggle && strife && when you feel that you walk in place && the tears form a river as they roll down your face… look to God && you will find the greatest strenght of all time. With prayer & faith & the love of many friends && family…. we call Lord, unto thee. May justice be served….. SET THE BLACKWELLS FREE.

  • hope they get life

    justice will be served and theyre gonna spend the rest of their life behind bars where they deserve to be

  • l mase

    Those guys prolly did kill that lil girl…..and if they did they need the death penalty!!!!!

  • marcus (KO)

    FREE NICC AN RAYSHAWN people need to get da facts rite they not guilty not guilty free my peoples give them a fair trial.