“34-Year-Old Man Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Charges in July 2020 Killing of Luis Pinedo”

By | July 18, 2023

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A 34-year-old man from Coachella, Ruben Corria Esquivel Jr., has pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to the July 2020 killing of a man in Thermal, whose body was found inside a burned vehicle. Esquivel faces multiple charges, including murder, arson, possession of a firearm, and possessing ammunition. He also has a prior conviction as a felon and narcotic addict in possession of a firearm.

The incident occurred on July 18, 2020, when deputies responded to a vehicle fire on Pierce Street near Airport Boulevard. After extinguishing the fire, the body of Luis Pinedo, 34, was discovered inside the vehicle. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department initially considered the death suspicious, but it was later upgraded to a homicide investigation when evidence of “homicidal violence” was found during the autopsy.

According to the declaration in support of Esquivel’s arrest warrant, arson investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set using a poured liquid on the asphalt. Pinedo had also sustained a single gunshot wound to the head before being burned. The Riverside County coroner’s office was able to identify Pinedo’s body using dental records.

Esquivel was identified as the suspect in Pinedo’s murder through interviews, phone analysis, call records, and social media records. He was allegedly found with severe burns on his chest, face, and arm the morning after the murder. Furthermore, a review of his phone revealed photos of his burned face and online searches related to burned vehicles, dead bodies, and homicides in Riverside County.

It is worth noting that Esquivel is already awaiting trial for a separate murder case involving the shooting of a 42-year-old man in Indio in February 2020. He has prior felony convictions for attempted carjacking and parole violations in Riverside County.

Authorities are urging anyone with additional information about the case to contact the sheriff’s Central Homicide Investigator Mendoza. Esquivel remains held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on $1 million bail..

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