A 62-year-old Santa Ana man was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in prison for bludgeoning his wife to death as she slept six years ago.
It was the second time Agustin Armaraz Espinoza, was sentenced to life for the crime. His first conviction was overturned on appeal.
The defendant was convicted again Dec. 1 of first-degree murder in a retrial ordered by the Fourth District Court of Appeal due to a jury instruction error in the first trial.
Espinoza was sentenced May 31, 2013, to 25 years to life in state prison for killing his wife following an argument over their marital and financial problems. He was first convicted on Feb. 27 of that year.
Espinoza’s 53-year-old wife, Marisela Gomez Espinoza, kicked him out of the house they were about to lose when she found evidence that he was cheating on her and had gambled away about $100,000 in pension money while he was unemployed, said former Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray, who was sworn in this week as an elected Orange County Superior Court judge.
She gave him two weeks to find a new place to live, Murray said.
Espinoza testified in the 2013 trial that he had gotten into an argument with his wife, and after she slammed the door on him and went to bed, he returned to her room, picked up a camera tripod and slammed it over her head.
Marisela Gomez Espinoza sustained at least six blows to the head and her skull was shattered in places, Murray said.
When the victim’s co-workers were unable to contact her after she missed two days of work, police went to her home in the 2400 block of Wright Street on July 29, 2010, to check on her and found her body on an air mattress in a blood-spattered bedroom.
Espinoza grabbed his wife’s purse and tried but failed to get money from her credit union account, Murray said.
Espinoza later managed to get about $300 from a joint bank account he had with his wife and fled to Mexico, ostensibly to dump evidence. He was arrested the same day coming back from Mexico.
— City News Service
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