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Most Wanted Suspect Espinoza Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Murder

A sheriff's SWAT team arrested Ramiro Espinoza on Elkwood Avenue in Imperial Beach Friday. He faces 40 years to life in prison.

Ramiro Espinoza (right) at his arraignment Monday. Espinoza was arrested by a SWAT team at an Imperial Beach home at 357 Elkwood Ave. Friday following a six-hour standoff. Photo credit: Khari Johnson
Ramiro Espinoza (right) at his arraignment Monday. Espinoza was arrested by a SWAT team at an Imperial Beach home at 357 Elkwood Ave. Friday following a six-hour standoff. Photo credit: Khari Johnson
Ramiro Espinoza, who was on the sheriff's most wanted list until a SWAT team arrested him Friday in Imperial Beach, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, causing great bodily injury and other charges at his arraignment at the South County Courthouse Monday afternoon.

Espinoza was arrested around 1 a.m. Friday at 357 Elkwood Ave. after being sought by law enforcement for more than six hours. About a half dozen law enforcement agencies assisted in his arrest.

Judge Katherine Bacal increased bail from $1 million to $3 million, but denied a request by Assistant District Attorney Leonard Trinh to hold Espinoza without bail until trial because he believes Espinoza is a threat to the community and his ex-girlfriend and has a prior domestic violence conviction for which he served prison time.

He faces a maximum 40 years and four months to life in prison if convicted, Trinh said.

Charges related to the Imperial Beach SWAT standoff incident have not yet been filed since a sheriff's department investigation has not concluded, Trinh said.

He has been ordered to stay away from his ex-girlfriend Catherine Perez. On May 24 Espinoza allegedly shot Perez in the head, neck and chest in front of her five-year-old daughter in San Ysidro.

Espinoza started stalking Perez after a four-year relationship between the two ended in March, Trinh said.

"In April of 2013 he began following her around the county, including when she came to the courthouse to file a restraining order," he said.

In one incident Espinoza allegedly followed Perez to a friend's house "where he began breaking windows in an attempt to contact Ms. Perez. A male friend had to intervene by shooting at the defendant."

"About a week later the defendant showed up at the victim's house and began choking her out because of the way that she was dressed. He told her that he had 150 bullets and he planned on using them on her."

During an argument on May 24 Espinoza pulled out a .22 caliber handgun and pointed it at Perez, Trinh said.

"Her five-year-old daughter was sitting in the front seat next to her and when Ms. Perez saw the gun she attempted to cover up her daughter," Trinh said. "The defendant fired multiple shots at Ms. Perez, hitting her once in the head and once in the clavicle."

Espinoza is due back in court Aug. 6 for a readiness conference and Aug. 8 for a preliminary exam.

Toni July 30, 2013 at 08:04 PM
How in the hell do we get these criminals in IB? I realize we are so close to Mexico but he knew someone on Elkwood? Maybe a family member! I am sick of it.... Get these people out of here!!!
Chico&The Man August 04, 2013 at 10:42 PM
2 Ib locals there officer Roselle.Old school IB

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