PALMDALE – A 23-year-old man convicted of the attempted murder of a teenage girl in a car-to-car shooting in Palmdale was sentenced Monday to 101 years to life in prison.
On Sept. 19, jurors also found Jaime Alberto Espinoza guilty of five counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of shooting at an occupied vehicle.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Trainor of the Hardcore Gang Division said the jury also found that Espinoza inflicted great bodily injury, used a handgun and committed the crimes in affiliation with a criminal street gang.
Co-defendant Fernando Albarran, also 23, pleaded no contest last August to one count of attempted murder and was sentenced to 17 years to life behind bars.
The case stems from an incident that occurred on Dec. 19, 2014.
Espinoza was involved in a verbal altercation with two individuals on a street near Palmdale High School before the two individuals got into a car with three other victims, two of which were high school students, the prosecutor said. According to trial testimony, Espinoza then flagged down Albarran, got into his car and began to follow the vehicle with the two individuals and three others aboard.
When the victim’s car stopped to drop the two individuals off at their house, Espinoza drove up alongside and fired a shot into the car. The bullet struck the driver on the shoulder and hit the driver’s sister in the front passenger seat in the head. She remains unable to use her legs and has limited speech as a result of the injury, the prosecutor added.
Albarran and Espinoza, both of Palmdale, were arrested several hours later, according to police, who characterized it as a gang-related shooting.
Espinoza had multiple prior arrests and was sentenced to 30-day jail stints at least twice on misdemeanor charges, according to Los Angeles County jail and court records.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Editor’s note: Story updated to include additional details from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
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