A man who beat and strangled his roommate at her Thousand Palms home, leaving her with traumatic injuries that later killed her, was sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison Friday.
Juan Inzunza, 34, was convicted in March in the murder of 56-year-old Victoria Supola, who was found lying halfway out of her trailer at 73742 Pacheta Square on the morning of June 3, 2014.
Supola was taken to Eisenhower Medical Center, where she died within hours. She suffered numerous injuries, but a ruptured renal artery caused by blunt-force blows was determined as the cause of death, according to Deputy District Attorney Jacob Silva. The prosecutor told jurors that Supola had “intense red marks around her throat from ear to ear” consistent with strangulation.
She told a neighbor who found her, as well as firefighters and paramedics, that “Juan did this,” according to Silva.
Inzunza had been renting out a room at the trailer for several weeks prior to her death.
Defense attorney John Dolan said the victim’s credibility was tainted by drug use, and alleged that another witness who placed his client at the scene is a convicted felon whose statements also could not be trusted.
An autopsy showed that Supola had methamphetamine, other amphetamines and Lorazepam in her blood, according to Dolan, who also told the jury that she was “slipping in and out of consciousness” when the statements against Inzunza were made.
Supola’s friend, Edward Pierce, came to the trailer on the morning of June 3 to repair her shower and was invited in by Inzunza, who said Supola had suffered a stroke.
When Pierce found Supola lying facedown in her bedroom, he was punched in the back of the head by Inzunza, triggering a fight, Silva told jurors. The attack ended with Inzunza locking himself inside a bedroom while Pierce left, but he didn’t report the incident to police because he thought he was being “set up” by Inzunza and Supola, Silva said.
Dolan said Pierce was the only person who said Inzunza was at the trailer on June 3, and the attorney said his credibility was further weakened by his criminal history. Pierce is currently serving a prison term for possession of child pornography, domestic violence and drug possession.
“No one (other than Pierce) places Mr. Inzunza there on that morning,” Dolan said.
Inzunza was arrested eight days later on San Miguelito Drive in Thousand Palms after he fled from deputies who wanted to question him.
In addition to murder, jurors also found Inzunza guilty of a misdemeanor assault count for striking Pierce. Inzunza also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest shortly before the trial started.