Agustin Armaraz Espinoza Guilty of Murdering Wife with Tripod Before Fleeing to Mexico
A Santa Ana jury took 90 minutes today to convict Agustin Armaraz Espinoza of murdering his wife after she asked him to move out because he was unemployed, had gambled away $100,000 of his pension money and had a mistress on the side.
In other words, the man every girl wanted behind the door while playing Mystery Date.
Espinoza, 58, of Santa Ana, had tearfully testified in his own defense that he had been drinking heavily on July 29, 2010, when in the heat of the moment he conked his wife Marisela on the head with a tripod one time.
Prosecutors, who claim she'd been struck in the head up to seven times, also played up the couple's longtime marital problems as well as his gambling and side dish.
When Marisela Espinoza failed to show up to work at Alcoa Fastening Systems in Fullerton for two days, concerned co-workers contacted the Santa Ana Police Department, whose officers found her body in the couple's bedroom in the 2400 block of North Wright Street. Her car was still in the driveway, but her husband and his car were gone, so police broadcast his license plate number.
Later that same day, Agustin was stopped in his car while entering the U.S. from Mexico. It was later determined that before he left Santa Ana, he had washed his bloody hands and bagged his bloody clothing and the tripod before driving first to San Bernardino to use his dead wife's debit card and then on to Tijuana to dump the incriminating evidence.
Unlike his tearful demeanor on the witness stand, Espinoza was stone faced as the jury's guilty verdict was read today. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state at his scheduled May 17 sentencing in Santa Ana.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts