Ex-Cop Pierre Romain Convicted of Murder From Days as Gang Member

LOS ANGELES – A reputed gang member who beat a murder charge decades ago and went on to land a job as a police officer was convicted Thursday of the 30-year-old killing after DNA evidence put him at the crime scene.

Pierre Romain, 53, was convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court of first-degree murder for a botched carjacking outside a Hollywood nightclub in June 1987.

Romain was trying to steal a customized 1984 Nissan 300 ZX that was identical to a friend’s car he had recently crashed, police said. He fatally shot Jade Clark behind the wheel of the car and was struck in the arm by a shot returned by the driver.

Romain was arrested shortly after the killing, but charges were dismissed because of lack of evidence. At the time, investigators didn’t have DNA science to connect him to the bloody bullet fired by Clark that struck the killer.

Detective Rick Jackson, who investigated the original case, was working in the cold case homicide unit when San Francisco police inquired about Romain in 2003 because he had applied for a job there. Romain was working at the time for the Department of Defense as a sergeant providing security at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo.

He was arrested when his DNA was detected on the slug recovered at the crime scene.

Romain testified at trial that he had nothing to do with the shooting, had never been to the nightclub and was not a member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips, though he said he later joined the gang in jail for self-preservation purposes, defense lawyer Winston McKesson said.

“We challenged every aspect of the DA’s case,” McKesson said. “From motive to DNA to pointing out who was the actual killer.”

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