(CNS) – A 20-year-old man who said voices prompted to him to fatally shoot two people in a Corona movie theater pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Monday to murder and other charges.
Joseph Jimenez of Corona is accused of gunning down Anthony Barajas, 19, and Rylee Goodrich, 18, both also of Corona, in July at the Regal Edwards Theater.
Along with two counts of first-degree murder, Jimenez is charged with a special circumstance allegation of taking multiple lives in the same crime and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
The defendant was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gail O’Rane, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Jan. 28 at the Riverside Hall of Justice and ordered that he remain held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Barajas and Goodrich were two of six ticket-holders for the late-night showing on July 26 of “The Forever Purge,” a horror film about societal collapse. Jimenez also had a ticket for the movie.
Theater employees discovered the victims when they began cleaning the venue after the film ended. The pair had been shot in the head.
Goodrich was pronounced dead at the scene. Barajas was taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where he died two days later. He was a social media influencer with nearly 1 million followers on TikTok.
A search warrant was served July 27 at a residence in the 19000 block of Envoy Avenue, near Diamond Street in El Cerrito, leading to Jimenez’s arrest, as well as the seizure of a handgun, according to the Corona Police Department. Prosecutors said the gun was the same caliber as the weapon used in the shooting, which they described in court papers as a “random and unprovoked attack.”
There was no evidence that the defendant and victims had interacted previously.
Jimenez, a graduate of Santiago High School, told the Press-Enterprise in an interview that he regretted his actions on the night of the attack.
He divulged to the paper in a jailhouse interview that he had been tormented by voices in his head for months and had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia but had stopped taking his medication.
“The voices said my friends and family were going to be killed,” Jimenez said in the interview.
He said he went out to his car and retrieved the gun, which he had purchased on OfferUp, an online marketplace.
In the interview, Jimenez said he walked up behind the victims, shooting Barajas first. He said Goodrich “sort of jumped,” and he shot her, then ran from the theater.
The defendant has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions.
Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.