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Corona theater murder suspect pleads for insanity

A 20-year-old accused in the fatal shooting of a TikTok star and his friend at a Corona movie theater in July pleaded not guilty on Monday to insanity.

Joseph Jimenez is charged with two counts of murder with increased sentence for personal use of a firearm causing death. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office also filed a special circumstances allegation of several pending murders against the Corona resident.

The charges, which make Jimenez eligible for the death penalty, stem from a July 26 shooting at the Regal Edwards Corona Crossings theater in the 2600 block of Tuscany Street. Six people were in the audience for a 9:35 pm screening of “The Forever Purge,” which features a night of lawlessness and murder, police said.

Guests included Anthony Barajas, a 19-year-old TikTok star who lived in Corona, and Rylee Goodrich, 18, also from Corona. The two were on their first date.

Shortly before midnight, as the film ended, Barajas was shot dead in what police would later call an execution-type attack. Goodrich was then targeted – like Barajas, shot at close range in the head. Goodrich was pronounced dead at the scene and Barajas died a few days later after being removed from the resuscitation system.

Jimenez was arrested the next day after his friends told detectives he left the cinema halfway through the film and returned with a bag, informing them he had a ‘strap’, according to a search warrant obtained by the Times. Investigators found a firearm that matched the caliber of the weapon used in the shooting as well as “additional crime scene evidence” at Jimenez’s home, police said.

Authorities called the shooting an “unprovoked attack” and no link was established between Jimenez and the victims.

In a prison interview with the Riverside Press-Enterprise after his arrest, Jimenez said he heard voices in his head before getting behind Barajas and Goodrich and shooting them.

Jimenez told the newspaper that he was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, but stopped taking his medication because he ran out of pills.

In California, defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity must always be treated in a public psychiatric hospital.

Jimenez’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 28, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said.

Times editors Kevin Rector and Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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