VISTA (CNS) - A gang member who fatally shot his pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend and their unborn baby last year before fleeing to Mexico was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in state prison.
Ruben Anthony Cepeda, 22, of Poway, was convicted last month of two counts of second-degree murder.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said Cepeda and fellow gang member Jesse Juan Lopez were moving into a new apartment in Escondido when the shooting occurred sometime after 7 p.m. on April 7, 2012.
Viridiana Rodriguez and their 4-month-old male fetus were killed. Two of the victim's sisters who were helping with the move were in the apartment on North Fig Street when the shooting happened.
Escondido police Detective John Myers said one of the sisters, Yemely Rodriguez, told him that she was in a bedroom with sister Diana Rodriguez when she heard a noise in another bedroom and the victim crying out for help.
Yemely Rodriguez said she found her sister Viridiana on the floor with Cepeda kneeling next to her, according to Myers, who said Cepeda told investigators the shooting was an "accident" and that he was sorry and told Yemely Rodriguez to call 911.
Diana Rodriguez, Lopez's girlfriend, testified she saw Cepeda and the victim standing face-to-face, then saw Viridiana Rodriguez on the ground. The victim and her unborn child died about an hour later at a hospital.
About an hour after the shooting, Lopez was arrested at the Otay Mesa Border Crossing and a man -- thought to be Cepeda -- was seen running into Mexico, prosecutor Keith Watanabe said.
Cepeda was arrested on June 11, 2012, in Tijuana, and turned over to U.S. authorities.
Lopez pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the murders and was sentenced to 16 months behind bars.
The Carlsbad City Council on Tuesday denied the Planning Commission’s approval for a liquor license at K1 Speed, the indoor go-kart racing company, but did approve a restaurant.
The U.S. Department of State on Tuesday warned U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas.
A federal judge who has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump's scorn on Tuesday urged a quick trial for a Mexican man who had been shielded from being deported from the U.S. and claims he was wrongly expelled.
Solarte homered and drove in a career-high six runs, Austin Hedges also went deep and the San Diego Padres beat the St. Louis Cardinals 12-4 on Tuesday night.
A 9-year-old boy who was the subject of an Amber Alert in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties after being abducted by his father, who was suspected of first killing the child's mother, was located safe Tuesday.
Four community meetings will be held in San Diego to take public input on selection of a new police chief, the city announced Tuesday.
Many watchers of Monday's solar eclipse may have glanced at the sun without proper eye protection, if only for a brief moment. This can be dangerous, as looking directly at the sun can cause eye damage.
Signs discouraging people from feeding birds are being installed in four locations along San Diego Bay and Imperial Beach, the Port of San Diego announced Tuesday.