5-year sentence likely because of victim’s fear of testifying

Jose Espinoza Aguilar shot a woman in the back as she was running away from him at an Everett park.

Jose Espinoza Aguilar

Jose Espinoza Aguilar

EVERETT — Jose Espinoza Aguilar “showed incredible callousness” when he shot a woman in the back as she was running away from him at an Everett park, a Snohomish County judge said Thursday.

“This is a situation which is more than just, respectfully, bad choices and mistakes,” Superior Court Judge David Kurtz said. “The defendant’s actions, including some of his words, were reprehensible, and yes, deplorable.”

Espinoza Aguilar, 25, was sentenced to nearly 5½ years in prison. He pleaded guilty in November to second-degree assault.

As part of the plea, the charge was reduced from first-degree assault. Espinoza Aguilar likely would have faced far more time if the victim had cooperated with the prosecution, the judge was told.

The woman was troubled before she was shot, and she was scared to testify, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter said.

Still, given the details, “I wasn’t willing to just let it go,” he said.

There were multiple stories about what led up to the violence at Langus Riverfront Park in January 2017. The defendant and the woman, 21, apparently had dated, but there also was a dispute involving money and drugs.

Back then, Espinoza Aguilar’s street name was “Danger” and he’d already shot at least one person.

He has been jailed in this case since July 2017, after months as a fugitive. He told the judge on Thursday that he hopes to better himself in prison.

“He has done a lot of soul searching,” defense attorney Tom Cox said. “He understands the harm he’s caused.”

Cox said his client wants to leave prison someday, “ready to be a father rather than just a criminal on the street.”

He noted that Espinoza Aguilar went and found the injured woman and took her to the hospital.

“Just don’t die in my car,” she reportedly was told. “Do it in the hospital.”

“He did not want her to die,” Cox said. “I appreciate the afterthought … at least that thought was there.”

A co-defendant, Jorge Martinez, pleaded guilty last year.

Martinez was sentenced to a little more than two years for second-degree kidnapping. He was accused of driving the woman to meet Espinoza Aguilar when she thought she was getting a ride home.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

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