INDIO (CNS) – One of two brothers accused of beating a man with a wooden paddle over two days in Cathedral City as a form of “street justice” failed to appear in court Wednesday and had a warrant issued for his arrest.
Eduardo Luis Espinoza, 34 was due in court Wednesday for a mandatory settlement conference with his brother Carlos Jose Espinoza, 32, and Genaro Jaime Lozoya, 31, who is accused of keeping the victim from escaping, according to court records.
Due to the absence of Eduardo Espinoza in court, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gregory Olson issued a bench warrant for his arrest and will have his bail set at $200,000.
The brothers are charged with one felony count of false imprisonment and two felony counts of assault on a person causing great bodily injury, along with sentence-enhancing allegations of using a weapon — a wooden paddle — during the commission of a felony, according to court records.
Eduardo Espinoza is additionally charged with one felony count each of robbery, criminal threats and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Lozoya is charged with one felony count each of false imprisonment, assault on a person causing great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon.
On June 17, 2021, when arguing that bail should remain at $1 million for both defendants, Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Mendoza shed new light on the nature of the alleged crimes in order to convince the judge to grant his request.
Mendoza said the victim — identified in court papers only as 36-year- old “Matthew H.” — was zip-tied and locked in a closet measuring 4 feet wide by 2 feet deep for two days before he was able to escape and seek refuge at a nearby business.
Eduardo Espinoza told detectives following his arrest that the victim broke into his apartment in the 37000 block of Bankside Drive on or around May 30, 2021, and, in response, he and his brother delivered a type of “street justice” common in Mexico, Mendoza said. Lozoya’s role was allegedly to watch the victim and keep him from escaping.
The man suffered serious bruising to much of his backside, according to Mendoza.
After escaping, the victim called 911 to report the beating and directed police to the Bankside Drive address, where unspecified evidence was collected that backed up his claim, according to Sgt. Larry Sanfillippo of the Cathedral City Police Department. The Espinoza brothers were arrested that same day.
Eduardo Espinoza has prior felony convictions including for grand theft, and has failed to appear for court hearings several times in the past, officials said. Carlos Espinoza has no felony convictions in Riverside County. Lozoya has a felony conviction for receiving stolen property.
The three defendants were free on bail.
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