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Defendants Rene Espinoza Jr., 22 years old, Maria Guadalupe Torres, 42 years old, and Rene Espinoza Martinez, 42 years old, all of Clearlake, pled guilty and no-contest today to murder charges stemming from the killing of Antonio Botello Arreola on September 1, 2017. Judge Bradford DeMeo accepted the pleas and found all three defendants guilty of murder just prior to beginning jury selection for their trial.

The charges resulted from the three defendants coordinating the killing of Antonio Botello Arreola on September 1, 2017. The victim was known to all defendants as he had previously resided on their property. During that time, the victim developed a romantic relationship with Maria Torres. Although that relationship was ongoing, Torres coordinated with her husband Rene Martinez and her son Rene Espinoza Jr. to kill the victim. On September 1, Espinoza Jr. and Martinez followed Torres and the victim to a remote area along Porter Creek Road in the middle of the night. Torres had the victim stop his van, and she got out. After she did so, Espinoza Jr. and Martinez pulled up alongside the victim, who was seated in his van.  Espinoza Jr. opened fire with a handgun. The victim was struck by multiple bullets and fell into the ravine alongside Porter Creek while trying to run away. The three defendants followed him while throwing rocks at his head. Espinoza Jr. then stabbed the victim multiple times in the chest and neck. 

All three defendants were charged with conspiring to commit murder, as well as murder. The case was set to begin trial on June 28, 2019. After approximately two weeks of legal proceedings, earlier today all defendants pled guilty and no contest.  Espinoza Jr. was convicted of first degree murder and a further allegation that he personally used a firearm resulting in the death of the victim. He will receive a sentence of 50 years to life in prison. Guadalupe Torres was convicted of first degree murder and will receive a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Martinez was convicted of second degree murder and will receive a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. All defendants have a sentencing date currently set for September 26, 2019.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Andrew Lukas and Tom Gotshall, assisted by District Attorney Investigators Matt Stapleton and Denise Urton. Sgt. Jayson Fowler and Detective Ted Vellis of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office headed the investigation.

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