A California woman lured a businessman to his death to rob him. But she claimed someone else made her do it.
Now, she will head to prison for decades.
Recently, a judge sentenced Lorena Espinoza to between 16 years to life for her role in the shooting death of Ghedeer “Tony” Radda. Espinoza, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, was charged along with the shooter, Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 54.
According to prosecutors, on Oct. 10, 2018, Espinoza walked into the Bottom Price Flooring Store, owned by Radda on 1015 G Street, in the San Diego area. She wore a purple wig. The defendant led Radda towards the back of the store while Cartwright snuck behind them towards the cash register. Soon after, Cartwright, dressed in all black, wearing a Halloween old lady mask, attacked the 49-year-old East Village businessman while he spoke with the Espinoza and fatally shot him.
Later, Cartwright forced the register open with a prybar and made off with some cash while Espinoza stood as a lookout at the store entrance. Though both the defendant and Cartwright left the store, the duo returned after realizing they had left the keys to the GMC Yukon SUV they drove to the crime scene. Espinoza found the keys on the floor, and they exited the store a second time.
The defendant headed westbound on G Street, while Cartwright headed eastbound, reported News San Diego.
The entire incident was captured on the store’s surveillance footage, except for the shooting of Radda. In addition, smart streetlights also identified Espinoza’s unique tattoos while in the SUV about three blocks from the crime scene.
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Radda is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 8 and 11.
“The victim’s giving nature revealed a sad irony in the case. Radda would have given money to people in need, like the defendant, if they had asked for it,” said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco, as he described the victim as a towering figure in his community, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Initially, Espinoza had told investigators she had taken part in the robbery under duress and threats by Cartwright. However, Radda’s older sister, Ghayda Young, rejected the defendant’s claim of being a victim while addressing the court during the victim impact statement. She told the court Espinoza had many opportunities to help her brother but chose otherwise.
Cartwright is currently awaiting trial and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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