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Inmate who escaped from Monterey County Jail convicted of escape, two first-degree murders

santos fonseca mug
Monterey County Jail
Santos Fonseca

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) An inmate who escaped from the Monterey County Jail in November has been convicted of the escape and two first-degree murder charges.

20-year-old Santos Fonseca escaped from the Monterey County Jail on Nov. 3, 2019 through a hole created in the bathroom ceiling. The escape led to a large-scale search. Two days later, Fonseca was found trying to cross back into the U.S. from Mexico at a point of entry in San Ysidro.

Fonseca was already facing two murder charges. The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said Fonseca is a member of the Northside Boronda subset of the Norteno gang, and an incarcerated gang member instructed him to commit a murder.

In June 2018, the DA's Office said Fonseca found 37-year-old Lorenzo Acosta on Klamath Drive while he was visiting family in Salinas. He was in his car video-chatting with his wife after a trip to the grocery store when investigators said Fonseca approached him, opened the car door and shot him repeatedly in front of Acosta's wife during the video chat.

Later, investigators said Fonseca was told to kill again. Three days later, they said he accessed the Facebook profile of his girlfriend, Alexandra Romayor, and sent messages to 22-year-old Ernesto Cruz. The DA's Office said Fonseca told Cruz to drive to El Dorado Park to meet with Romayor. At the park, investigators said Fonseca told Romayor to get into Cruz's vehicle, keep him occupied and get out when Fonseca arrived.

When Fonseca got to the vehicle, investigators said he ordered Cruz to get out before shooting him repeatedly. Witnesses were able to identify Fonseca and Romayor to police, and they were arrested the following day during a traffic stop. In the vehicle, investigators said they found the gun that was used in both murders.

Romayor was sentenced to 17 years and 8 months-to life in prison after entering a no contest plea in June 2019. She pleaded no contest to second degree murder, accessory to murder and possession of a loaded gun charges.

Fonseca's sentencing is scheduled for October. He could face 102 years and 8 months-to life or 156 years in prison.

Crime / Monterey County / Salinas / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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