A 31-year-old convicted felon accused of gunning down a man earlier this year near Indio pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other charges.
Ruben Corria Esquivel Jr. of Coachella was arrested last Friday near Mecca after an hours-long standoff with sheriff’s deputies who arrived to serve him with an arrest warrant following a five-month investigation into the killing of 42-year-old Vincent Aispuro.
Along with murder, Esquivel is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He also faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.
Esquivel was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Aug. 10 and set bail at $1 million.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Carroll, deputies responded about midnight Feb. 21 to a call reporting an assault with a deadly weapon in the 47600 block of Van Buren Street in an unincorporated area near Indio and found the gunshot victim, who died at a nearby hospital.
Homicide investigators began working the case, and through unspecified leads eventually identified Esquivel as the suspect. He was tracked down to a home in the 88000 block of Avenue 70 near Mecca, where he holed up for several hours before surrendering.
A motive for the killing has not been disclosed.
Esquivel has documented felony convictions in Riverside County that include attempted carjacking and three parole violations, court records show. He was also convicted in 2012 of a misdemeanor for participating in a criminal street gang.