Crime - Sacto 911

Gang member convicted of first-degree murder in girlfriend's 2015 strangling death in Elk Grove

Moses Valdez was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Marissa Pineda de Almaza.
Moses Valdez was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Marissa Pineda de Almaza. Elk Grove Police Department

Known gang member Moses Valdez was convicted of first-degree murder by a Sacramento County Superior Court jury Monday in connection with the death of Marissa Pineda de Almanza, his then-girlfriend, in November 2014.

Valdez, 40, shot de Almanza, an airman of the U.S. Air Force reserves and mother of two, in the head on Nov. 2 and left her for dead in her Franklin Boulevard apartment. After leaving for a short while, he returned to the apartment and realized she had crawled out of her bedroom and down the hall toward her front door.

Valdez then strangled de Almanza, then 37, with a belt and electrical cord, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office media release. Her estranged husband found de Almanza's body in the Elk Grove apartment three days later.

Valdez fled the country when a warrant for his arrest was issued and was apprehended in Mexico and turned over to U.S. authorities in March 2015.

Know by the nicknames "Demon" and "Crazy Moe," Valdez's criminal history in Sacramento County dates to 1994, when he pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to court records. He got out in time to be arrested on suspicion of felony reckless evasion in 2007, for which he pleaded no contest, and had a charge of assault with a deadly weapon dropped in 2011.

Valdez faces up to 100 years in prison under California's three-strikes rule for violent felons. His sentencing is set for April 27 at 10:30 a.m. in front of Judge David Abbott.

Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052, begel@sacbee.com

  Comments