By Dave Andrusko
Ruben Anthony Cepeda, of Poway, California, was convicted Wednesday on two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of his pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend and their 4 ½- month-old unborn baby.
Vista Judge Harry Elias will sentence the 22-year-old Cepeda on October 11 for the April 7, 2012, deaths of Viridiana Rodriquez and her unborn baby boy. He faces up to 60 years in prison.
According to CNS, Cepeda was arrested on June 11, 2012, in Tijuana, Mexico, and turned over to U.S. authorities. Fellow gang member Jesse Juan Lopez had been arrested an hour after the shooting at a Border crossing.
Lopez pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact for helping Cepeda flee the United States last fall, CNS reported, and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
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Cepeda maintained all along that the shooting was an accident. “Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said it appeared that Cepeda was playing around with the gun, and although he may not have had the intent to kill, his actions showed disregard for human life,” reported Teri Figueroa for the U-T San Diego newspaper.
Figueroa quoted “Juror No. 4” who said, “We unilaterally agreed there was a wanton disregard for human life.”
Ms. Rodriquez and her unborn child died about an hour after the shooting at a hospital.