Matthew Lickona 8:30 a.m., Oct. 20
Escondido man guilty of double-murder for shooting pregnant girlfriend
Ruben Anthony Cepeda convicted after 2 week trial
After less than four hours deliberations, a jury declared Ruben Anthony Cepeda guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for shooting his pregnant girlfriend. The jury found true the allegation that Cepeda fired the weapon, but did not find true that the shooting was “intentional.”
The jury’s decision implies that even if the pulling the trigger was not intentional, the act of pressing a loaded gun to the belly of a pregnant woman was so knowingly dangerous and wanton that it created “implied malice,” the prosecutor explained after the verdict.
Medical examiner Dr. Steve Campman had testified that the bullet wound had “soot and searing around it” with no “stippling,” which he concluded meant it was a “contact” shot. Dr. Campman stated that blood loss of the mother caused blood loss and loss of oxygen and then death to the male fetus, which was 16-weeks gestation.
“We’re pleased that the jury honored the life of an unborn the same as an adult victim,” prosecutor Keith Watanabe said after the verdict today, September 4, 2013.
Cepeda could be sentenced to 80 years to Life in prison, depending if the judge chooses to run times concurrent or not, according to the prosecutor.
The defendant has admitted that he has a prior conviction in the juvenile system for robbery, as a violent and “strike” offense; that occurred in 2007, when he was 16.
Ruben Anthony Cepeda, 22, is scheduled to be sentenced October 11 by the same judge who heard trial, Honorable Harry Elias, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse, California.