LANCASTER – A reputed gang member sentenced to life in prison for killing a gang rival for greeting him with “What’s up, dawg?” will get a second trial because prosecutors did not exert enough effort to find a key witness. The state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with lawyers for Larry Davidson that the trial judge erred in deciding the prosecution had shown due diligence in trying to secure the presence of witness Amere French. French’s testimony from a pretrial hearing was later read to the jury without any possibility for the defense to cross-examine him. “We conclude that more could, and should, have been done to secure his attendance at trial,” a three-judge panel ruled. “As it stood, the prosecution’s case was dependent almost wholly on Amere’s testimony. Under these circumstances, we cannot say that the error in allowing Amere’s preliminary hearing testimony to be presented (to) the jury was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, defendant’s conviction must be reversed.” State officials said they were reviewing the matter to determine whether the ruling should be appealed. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“We need to review it further and consider all options. We are disappointed obviously,” Deputy Attorney General Michael Katz said. Davidson was sentenced in July 2004 to two consecutive terms of 25 years to life for fatally shooting 21-year-old Quorne Warren of Lancaster near Sacred Heart School in July 2000. Warren was shot in the neck and paralyzed. He clung to life for nearly 10 months before dying at a San Bernardino hospital in April 2001. French testified at the preliminary hearing that on the evening of July 16, 2000, he was with Davidson and some others – all members or associates of the Crips street gang – outside a friend’s home when Warren walked by wearing the colors of the rival Bloods gang. French said Warren asked the group, “What’s up, dawg?” Davidson interpreted the remark as disrespectful, prosecutors said. French testified that Davidson got a handgun, chased Warren for about two blocks and then fired the gun two times. French did not see whether Warren had been hit because his view was obstructed by a building, according to the appellate decision. The three judges on the panel said they were troubled about whether prosecutors’ search for French was timely and whether his possible location was competently explored. A district attorney’s investigator was contacted to try to find French less than a month before the scheduled start of trial, the judges said, and then left for a three-week vacation. French’s mother and brother had told the investigator that French was in Utah, but the investigator didn’t believe them. He visited a Palmdale house looking for French three times, but didn’t begin checking employment, hospital, booking and welfare records until after the trial started, the judges said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!