Jury finds Vacaville man guilty of murder

By From page A1 | January 26, 2013

FAIRFIELD — A Vacaville man was found guilty Friday of first-degree murder.

Rico M. Espitia shot and killed Quinten Nears in the parking lot of a Vacaville apartment complex on the night of July, 30, 2011.

The jury’s verdict, after two days of deliberation capping a four-week trial, included a finding that the shooting was not gang-related.

Espitia, 22, had been walking through the Alamo Gardens apartments when he ran into Nears, 20, who was walking with a friend. Espitia and Nears had run into each other a few weeks earlier outside a Vacaville liquor store but that encounter, with tough talk and hard looks, ended without violence.

In her closing argument, prosecutor Julie Underwood told jurors that Espitia had decided after that encounter to kill Nears the next time he saw him.

Espitia, who did not testify, showed little emotion as the verdict was announced, unlike his family members, who began sobbing and crying as Espitia was led out of the courtroom to a nearby holding cell.

Judge Donna Stashyn ordered Espitia back to court March 25 to be sentenced.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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