An Escondido gang member who fired a shot intended for rivals that struck and killed a woman driving home from Bible study was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Dionicio Torrez Jr., 25, was convicted in October of first-degree murder and a special circumstance allegation that he was an active member of a street gang when 55-year-old Cathy Kennedy was killed.
Torrez also was convicted of attempted murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle.
Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hauf said Torrez fired across a street 12 rounds intended for rivals the night of March 7, 2017. One of those bullets hit Kennedy — traveling home from church — in the head, and she died at a hospital.
Defense attorney Alejandro Morales said the prosecution’s case rested on the word of a 16-year-old boy who was with Torrez that night.
The juvenile — who took a plea deal — was the one who fired the shots, Morales told the jury.
Hauf said two rival gang members were spotted tagging the apartment complex where Torrez and the teenager lived about 9 p.m.
Torrez chased the rivals — followed by the 16-year-old — and Torrez opened fire, according to the prosecutor.
The victim was found alongside eastbound Grand Avenue near Midway Drive. Her silver Toyota Camry crashed into a parked vehicle.
–City News Service
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