Prosecutors filed a special circumstance murder charge on Friday against a man accused of shooting two moviegoers watching “The Forever Purge” inside a darkened Southern California movie theater.
The “special circumstance allegation of lying in wait,” makes suspect Joseph Jimenez, 20, eligible for the death penalty if prosecutors elect to seek that punishment at trial, Riverside County DA Mike Hestrin announced on Friday.
Jimenez, 20, was charged with murder and attempted murder for the slaying of Rylee Goodrich, 18, and shooting of Anthony Barajas.
The 19-year-old Barajas is known online as itsanthonymichael and has nearly a million followers on TikTok and more on other platforms. He was still on life support on Friday, prosecutors said.
A Riverside County judge on Friday delayed arraignment, during which a plea is usually entered, until Thursday. This was done at the request of the defense, which otherwise did not address the allegations.
Jimenez was ordered held without bail.
During the proceedings Friday afternoon Goodrich’s father screamed out, “Look at me!” The suspect did not look his way.
Barajas and Goodrich were at The Crossings mall in Corona, about 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, on Monday watching a 9:35 p.m. showing of “The Forever Purge,” the latest in this dystopian action horror franchise.
Workers at the Regal Edwards Theatre found two people shot.
“After the movie ended, theater employees went to clean the auditorium and made the horrific discovery that the two victims had been shot in the head,” according to a DA statement. “No motive for the shootings is being released at this time and there was no known connection between the victims and Jimenez.”
At this point, prosecutors are calling the slayings “random and unprovoked.”