A jury has found a 23-year-old man guilty in the robbery and murder of a Glendale hairstylist in her own shop last year.
During closing arguments of the two-day trial Wednesday, the prosecution said testimony from one of Jesus Jimenez's girlfriends placed him in the car that was seen driving by The Shop beauty salon, 1329 W. California Ave., multiple times on Aug. 15, 2007, the day of the shooting.
On Tuesday, Cassandra Matern testified she was in the car with Jimenez and Miguel Mateos-Martinez. The latter is suspected as the gunman and is still at large. Matern said the three of them had cased out the shop before pulling up to it to let Martinez out. At that time Jimenez told her to "get down," indicating Jimenez may have known in advance that an act of violence was about to occur.
Police say a man entered the beauty shop and insisted on money. Hernandez died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. At the time, she was cutting the hair of a customer, who was also a witness to the robbery.
Court documents state that Jimenez told another individual he was the getaway-car driver and that Martinez had actually fired the gun.
The prosecution also pointed out that the victim's sister, who was in the store at the time, testified seeing the same car driving by the store several times.
Police later found Jimenez's Mexican driver's license in a car matching photos taken from a nearby security camera, as well as documentation showing the car was owned by Jimenez.
It took the jury about two hours to return a verdict of guilty on murder and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies. The jury also found Jimenez eligible for an enhanced penalty for use of a firearm in a crime. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 18.
The defense tried to call into question Matern's honesty, pointing out she initially told police she wasn't at the scene and denied being involved. Through several versions of her story, Matern said she was afraid to tell the truth because she thought she was going to be charged as well and lose custody of her two children.
Matern's recent testimony conflicts with sworn testimony she gave last December during a court hearing. The defense pointed out that her recent testimony came after she was granted immunity by the prosecution from any charges, including perjury.The prosecution responded by telling jurors that this robbery would never have happened without Jimenez's help.
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