A man was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday for fatally shooting an East Village business owner inside the victim’s flooring materials store, then making off with cash from the store’s register.
Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 55, is slated to be sentenced later this month to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Oct. 10, 2018, shooting death of 49-year-old Ghedeer “Tony” Radda at the victim’s G Street store, Bottom Price Flooring.
Deputy District Attorney Matt Greco said Cartwright’s co-defendant, 38-year-old Lorena Espinoza, entered the business first and lured the victim to the back of the store, where he was later fatally shot by Cartwright.
Espinoza pleaded guilty to second-degree murder prior to Cartwright’s trial and was sentenced earlier this year to 16 years to life in state prison.
Espinoza was wearing a purple wig, while Cartwright concealed himself with a Halloween-style mask during the attack, according to Greco, who said the pair were identified after the shooting through examination of smart streetlight camera footage from the downtown area.
Surveillance footage from inside the business showed that after Radda was shot, the gunman went to the register and forced it open with a pry bar while Espinoza stood by the store’s entrance and acted as a lookout.
After making off with cash, the pair left the business and walked away in opposite directions, with Espinoza westbound on G Street toward the GMC Yukon SUV they drove to the scene, and Cartwright eastbound, according to prosecutors.
Cartwright was arrested Oct. 17 and Espinoza was taken into custody about two weeks later. Following Cartwright’s arrest, Greco alleged police seized a gun belonging to Radda and 9mm ammo which was “identical” to the ammo the gunman used at Bottom Price Flooring.
Defense attorney Jeremy Thornton alleged in his closing argument that there was no definitive proof his client was the masked gunman.
Though the perpetrators’ SUV was tracked to Cartwright, he argued someone else may have borrowed the vehicle. Thornton also alleged that fingerprints and DNA were absent from several items prosecutors allege belonged to the killer.
In addition to the murder, Cartwright was convicted of a separate armed robbery in Point Loma, which happened one day prior to Radda’s killing.
He’s slated to be sentenced on June 29.