A gang member from Strathmore, 34-year-old Eric Jimenez, has been sentenced to death for murder.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office says on March 28, 2012 Jimenez and fellow gang member, 29-year-old Matthew Campo, entered the garage of Jimenez’s girlfriend, 31-year-old Raquel Espinosa in Porterville. She was talking with the 39-year-old male victim at that time. Officials say Jimenez knew the victim carried money and drugs.
After a brief exchange, Jimenez pistol whipped the victim and held his hands while Campos struck him with brass knuckles. Officials say Jimenez then demanded Espinosa to retrieve an electrical cord, which he used to strangle the victim to death.
The District Attorney’s office says Jimenez and Campos robbed the victim, taking drugs and money.
They then rolled him up in a carpet and put him in his truck.
The two left in the truck, Jimenez dropped Campos off at his home before driving to a private mechanic shed outside of Porterville.
Officials say at the shed, Jimenez placed the victim’s body in a service pit, poured gasoline and ignited it. The owner of the property saw smoke and then notified authorities.
On April 23, 2012, Jimenez was contacted by the Porterville Police Department, officers found him in possession of brass knuckles and took him into custody.
On May 25, 2012, Campos and Espinosa were arrested. The DA’s office says after the arrests Jimenez became concerned about the several individuals who he believed would implicate him in the murder. While in custody, Jimenez conspired to murder one of those individuals, a 19-year-old male.
The District Attorney’s office says Jimenez was charged with the first murder on August 20, 2012, and was arraigned on the second murder on October 9, 2013.
Campos was convicted of second-degree murder on November 9, 2017, and was sentenced to 16 years-to-life in prison. Espinoza pleaded to accessory after the fact and is awaiting sentencing.
The District Attorney’s office says Jimenez has a long criminal history.