A three-strike felon who shot his girlfriend and left her body in a car abandoned on a Perris street was convicted Friday of first-degree murder and other offenses.
A Banning jury deliberated one day before finding 43-year-old Martin Jason Estrada of Desert Hot Springs guilty of the murder count, as well as being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations for the slaying of 45-year-old Rachel Davis of Banning.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jorge Hernandez scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 20 at the Banning Justice Center. Estrada is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
Estrada was arrested in February 2016 following a sheriff’s investigation into Davis’ death three months earlier.
Davis’ body was found in a car parked along the shoulder of the 1300 block of Metz Road, near Altura Drive, on Nov. 6, 2015. She had been shot in the head. The circumstances were not specified.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Wally Clear, after speaking to witnesses and gathering other evidence, detectives soon developed leads pointing to Estrada as the perpetrator.
Estrada, who had several arrest warrants pending in unrelated cases, could not be found for several months. As the investigation progressed, detectives learned that he was staying in the Coachella Valley, eventually narrowing down his location to a residence on Prospect Street in Desert Hot Springs, Clear said.
Deputies served a warrant at the house and took Estrada into custody without a struggle.
According to court records, most of Estrada’s prior offenses occurred in neighboring jurisdictions.