Woman pleads guilty and is sentenced to prison for the murder of an East Village business owner – Reuters

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for her role in the robbery and murder of an East Village businessman at his flooring store was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison for life.

Lorena Espinoza, 38, was charged with Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 54, on October 10, 2018, in the shooting death of Ghedeer “Tony” Radda, 49.

Prosecutors said Espinoza entered Radda’s business — Bottom Price Flooring at 1015 G St. — while wearing a purple wig and lured the victim to the back of the store, where he was shot by Cartwright .

Cartwright has been charged with murder and is awaiting trial. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Several members of Radda’s family attended Espinoza’s sentencing hearing, with Radda’s older sister Ghayda Young addressing the court.

Young said her brother ‘came up the ladder from nothing’ to start his own flooring business downtown and said she not only cried for herself, but for Radda’s wife as well. and her two daughters, who were ages 5 and 8 at the time of her death.

Referring to surveillance footage captured inside the store, Young said she saw Cartwright “violently attack” her brother and Espinoza “standing there as Ghedeer lay in pain on the floor.”

Footage released during the defendants’ preliminary hearing showed Espinoza and Radda walking towards the back of the store, while the shooter – dressed in black and wearing a Halloween-style old lady mask – slipped behind the couple towards the checkout recorder.

He then snuck to the back of the business where the victim was speaking with Espinoza and attacked him, although the shooting took place off camera.

Prosecutors allege that after shooting Radda, Cartwright went to the register and forced it open with a lever while Espinoza stood at the entrance and stood watch.

Although Espinoza told law enforcement that she was threatened to participate in the robbery, Young said she rejects the theory that she was forced against her will, saying Espinoza “had so much ‘opportunities to help’ Radda.

After fleeing with cash, the couple left the business and drove off in opposite directions, with Espinoza heading west on G Street to the GMC Yukon SUV they drove to the scene, and Cartwright eastbound, prosecutors say.

Cartwright was arrested on October 17, and Espinoza was taken into custody about two weeks later.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Greco said smart cameras in downtown streetlights helped identify Espinoza, whose distinctive tattoos were caught on camera when she got into the SUV at about three blocks from the scene of the shooting.

The prosecutor described Radda as “a towering figure in his family and community” and said the victim’s generous nature revealed “a sad irony” in the case, as Greco said Radda “would have given money to people in need, like the defendant, if they had asked for it.

Comments are closed.