Conviction: Alhambra man guilty in wife's murder
An Alhambra man pleaded guilty to a count of first-degree murder last week in connection with the death of his estranged wife in 2008.
Aaron Leonel Raigoza, a 36-year-old Latino, admitted Tuesday to the charge that he "personally and intentionally discharged" a firearm that killed his spouse, Ana Acosta, a 32-year-old Latina.
At the time of the killing, the couple, both employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was in the midst of a divorce, authorities said.
Prosecutors argued that Raigoza, who had been stalking Acosta with a global-positioning device, attacked her Feb. 4, 2008, as she sat in her car in the 400 block of South Russell Avenue in Monterey Park.
After she was shot in the head, Acosta's car moved a short distance before crashing into another vehicle. Authorities said her husband fled the scene.
Following the killing, investigators named Raigoza as a person of interest in his wife's death and began an intense search to find him.
On Feb. 28, detectives received information that he was hiding out at the Desert Sky Motel & R.V. Park in Yucca Valley. L.A. County sheriff's homicide detectives arrested Raigoza, and he was booked on suspicion of murder at the Monterey Park Police Department.
In addition to pleading guilty on the first-degree murder charge, Raigoza also admitted guilt to one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and an allegation of personal use of a firearm.
After Acosta was shot, prosecutors said, a man ran out of his home thinking there had just been a traffic accident. Seeing this, Raigoza pointed the gun at him.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, two additional special circumstance allegations, lying in wait and murder for financial gain, are expected to be dismissed.
Raigoza is being held at the Men's Central Jail in downtown. He is scheduled to be sentenced at the Alhambra Municipal Court on Feb. 22, 2011. He faces a state prison term of 19 years, plus a consecutive term of 50 years to life.
-- Sarah Ardalani
Photo: Aaron Raigoza. Credit: DMV