Los Angeles County Superior Court. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles County Superior Court. Photo by John Schreiber.

A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld the murder conviction of a former Orange County resident who repeatedly shot his estranged wife in the head outside the Montebello restaurant where she worked.

The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that jurors in Arthur Andrew Andrade Jr.‘s trial were erroneously given one instruction and should have been given a separate instruction.

Andrade was convicted in December 2014 of first-degree murder for the March 16, 2013, killing of his estranged wife, Esperanza, who was shot six times in the head while sitting in her car in a parking lot outside the eatery.

The shooting was captured on a video surveillance camera outside the restaurant.

Deputy District Attorney Pallavi Dhawan told jurors that the victim had obtained a restraining order against Andrade and hoped “to be left in peace.”

The prosecutor said the evidence showed that the killing was planned by the Tustin man.

Defense attorney Dale K. Galipo said when his client’s wife told him she never loved him, was sleeping with another man and had only used him to get documentation to stay in the United States legally, Andrade was pushed beyond his limits.

“Art lost it, he totally lost it,” the attorney said after suggesting that Andrade brought the gun with him because he may have planned to kill himself.

Andrade was sentenced in February 2015 to 50 years to life in state prison after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Sterling refused to reduce the conviction to second-degree murder or manslaughter.

“I looked at that (surveillance) video over and over,” the judge said, relating how Andrade stuck a gun in the back waistband of his pants and then looked around for possible witnesses before approaching his estranged wife.

“I think the evidence is more than sufficient. I think it’s powerful,” the judge said. “I think he made a clear decision to kill her.”

–City News Service 

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