Preliminary Hearing Set for Man Accused of Killing Pair in Corona Theater

City News Service

(CNS) – A preliminary hearing is set to go Friday for a 21- year-old man who claimed voices compelled him to fatally shoot two people in a Corona movie theater.

Joseph Jimenez of Corona is accused of gunning down Anthony Barajas, 19, and Rylee Goodrich, 18, both also of Corona, in July 2021 at the Regal Edwards Theater.

Jimenez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and taking multiple lives in the same crime, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

The hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz at the Riverside Hall of Justice will determine whether there’s sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

The hearing is expected to conclude Friday afternoon.

Jimenez is being 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, 2021, of “The Forever Purge,” a horror film about societal collapse. Jimenez also was among the six.

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, and 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 within 48 hours of the killings at a residence in the 19000 block of Envoy Avenue, near Diamond Street in El Cerrito, where Jimenez was arrested and a handgun was seized, according to the Corona Police Department.

Prosecutors said the gun was the same caliber as the one 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 shooting.

He divulged 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.

He said that he went out to his car and retrieved the gun, which he had purchased on OfferUp, an online marketplace.

In the interview, Jimenez described how he walked up behind the victims, shooting Barajas first. He said Goodrich “sort of jumped,” and he shot her, then bolted from the theater.

The defendant has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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