BLYTHE - Two years after Maria Paz's death, a jury convicted her killer, Jesse James Flores,of premeditated murder in an Indio courtroom on Sept. 6, 2013.
The jury found Flores guilty of killing Paz, the mother of three of Flores' children, on Aug. 11, 2011. The jury also convicted him on three counts of child endangerment for causing "unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering" after he gunned down Paz in front of their children.
In addition, it found Flores guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, the 12-gauge shotgun he used to kill Paz.
Blythe Police officers went to Paz's home on the 300 block of S. First St., Blythe, on the evening of Aug. 11, 2011 after a call about a shooting. They found 27-year-old Paz bleeding from a gunshot wound as she lay on her bedroom floor. Medical personnel pronounced her dead at the scene. Witnesses told police that Flores had shot Paz and then fled.
After receiving a tip, officers captured Flores six days later in the Sunrise Apartments in the 400 block of North Eucalyptus. Flores surrendered without resistance. Officers booked him into Riverside County's Blythe Jail on a murder charge under $1 million bail.
After Flores' conviction, the judge accepted Flores' withdrawal of his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, during the sanity phase on Sept. 9.
When the judge sentences Flores Dec. 6, Flores faces a minimum of 25 years to life for the murder charge and additional time for the child endangerment and being a felon with a firearm. He remains in the Riverside County Jail while he awaits sentencing.