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Woman pleads guilty to role in East Village business owner's killing

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 20:47:46-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday for her role in the robbery killing of an East Village businessman inside his flooring materials store.

Lorena Espinoza, 37, was charged along with Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 54, in the Oct. 10, 2018, shooting death of 49-year-old Ghedeer "Tony" Radda.

Espinoza is facing a 16-year-to-life prison term. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 21.

Cartwright remains charged with murder. His trial is scheduled to begin in December.

Prosecutors allege Espinoza entered Radda's business -- Bottom Price Flooring at 1015 G St. -- while wearing a purple wig and lured the victim to the back of the store, where he was fatally shot by Cartwright.

Surveillance camera footage showed Espinoza and Radda walking toward the back of the store, while the gunman -- dressed in all black and wearing a Halloween-style old-lady mask -- slipped behind the pair toward the cash register.

He then sneaked toward the back of the business where the victim was talking with Espinoza and attacked him, though the shooting occurred off-camera.

Prosecutors allege that after he shot Radda, Cartwright went to the register and forced it open with a pry bar while Espinoza stood at the entrance and acted as a lookout.

After making off with cash, the pair left the business but had to return because Cartwright left the keys to their getaway vehicle inside the store, prosecutors allege.

Surveillance footage showed them re-entering the store and Espinoza finding the keys on the floor. They then left the business and walked away in opposite directions, Espinoza westbound on G Street toward the GMC Yukon SUV they drove to the scene, and Cartwright eastbound, according to prosecutors.

Cartwright was arrested on Oct. 17 and Espinoza was taken into custody about two weeks later.