By Neal Putnam
A woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the slaying of the owner of a Downtown flooring business in 2018 in which a co-defendant robbed the man after shooting him.
Lorena Del Carmen Espinoza, 37, was seen on a surveillance camera wearing a blue wig as she entered Bottom Price Flooring which was owned by Ghedeer “Tony” Radda, 49.
Espinoza distracted Radda while a masked man believed to be Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 54, came inside the store at 1015 G Street at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2018.
The shooting wasn’t captured on video, but Radda was shot three times. A crowbar was used to break into the cash register and coins were scattered on the floor.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco said Espinoza was seen wearing the blue wig on her Facebook photos.
Espinoza faces a prison sentence of 15 years to life in prison, said Greco. San Diego Superior Court Judge Fred Link set sentencing for Jan. 21.
Cartwright has his murder trial set for Jan. 24. He is also charged with committing special circumstances allegations of murder during a burglary and robbery and if he’s convicted of first-degree murder, Cartwright would be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The video showed the man stuffing cash into his pocket with his gloves and he dropped the crowbar on the floor. The man wore an “old lady” mask, testified a detective earlier, while Espinoza stood by the door and acted as a lookout, she said.
Street cameras showed the man and Espinoza leaving, but the man took off his mask on a sidewalk some blocks away. Another detective testified Espinoza told him she was promised $150 from the robbery by Cartwright.
Both Cartwright and Espinoza remain in jail without bail.
Radda was the store owner for 16 years. He is survived by a wife and two young daughters.
— Neal Putnam is a local court reporter.