Man accused in drive-by shooting denied bail

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by Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:44 AM

PHOENIX (AP) -- A man accused of killing two teenagers and wounding four other people in a drive-by shooting outside a late-night birthday party in northwest Phoenix was denied bail after authorities learned he was living in the country illegally.

Carlos Rodriguez-Espinoza, 22, made his initial court appearance Tuesday after his arrest in the shooting deaths of 18-year-old Jason Jonathan Acosta-Ramos and 16-year-old Elliseo O. Cantu.

An order by Maricopa County Court Commissioner Cynthia Gialketsis says Rodriguez-Espinoza was denied bail because a state law automatically denies bond for immigrants who are both living in the U.S. without legal permission and are charged with serious felonies, such as murder and sexual assault. Authorities say Rodriguez-Espinoza, who was born in Mexico, is an immigrant who is living in the country without legal permission.

Rodriguez-Espinoza is accused of opening fire on a crowd at Acosta-Ramos' house around 3:30 a.m. Sunday as Acosta-Ramos's birthday party was breaking up. Four others, including three other teens, also were wounded in the shooting. Police say the handgun Rodriguez-Espinoza used in the shooting was found in the car he drove to the party.

Investigators say Rodriguez-Espinoza said he fired into the crowd and told police the handgun he used in the shooting was in the trunk of the car he drove during the shooting.

Rodriguez-Espinoza hasn't yet been assigned an attorney.

Records filed by police in court say Rodriguez-Espinoza had gotten into an argument with some of the people who were shot, warned he was going to kill them, drove away, made a U-turn, pulled up in front of the house, fired a 9-mm handgun into the crowd and drove away.

A person who went to the party with Rodriguez-Espinoza told police that he was warned by Rodriguez-Espinoza to stay inside the home because "things were going to go bad."

Rodriguez-Espinoza was arrested late Monday morning at the Phoenix apartment complex where he lives.

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