Corona movie theater shooting: Former friend testifies suspect gave 'death stares' before murders

Joseph Jimenez is accused of fatally shooting two teenagers at a Corona movie theater in 2021.

Leticia Juarez Image
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Insanity trial continues in deadly 2021 Corona movie theater shooting
Joseph Jimenez is accused of fatally shooting two teenagers at a Corona movie theater in 2021 and an insanity trial is underway. A former friend took the stand, speaking on what he noticed moments before the killings.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Joseph Jimenez sat bound and shackled to a chair in a Riverside County Courthouse Tuesday as he listened to his older sister give testimony in his insanity trial.

Daisy Jimenez testified to her brother's spiral into anxiety, paranoia and hearing voices in his head following the death of their mother.

In August 2020, she said her brother was diagnosed of schizophrenia with paranoid hallucinations following a stay at a mental facility in Loma Linda.

Almost a year later, Jimenez would attend a screening of the film "The Forever Purge" at the Regal Edwards theater at the Crossings at Corona where he would shoot and kill 18-year-old Rylee Goodrich and 19-year-old Anthony Barajas as the couple watched the movie.

Jimenez's sister told the court about her brother's stay at several mental health facilities prior to the murders.

Jimenez previously withdrew his not guilty pleas on two counts of murder and not guilty by reason of insanity. Instead of a criminal trial, a judge will hear the case and determine Jimenez's state of mind at the time of the murders. If Jimenez is found to be sane, he will be sentenced to a state prison. If he is found insane, he will be committed to a state hospital.

During the morning session, Jimenez's former friend testified about the night leading up to the shooting.

Carlos Gonzalez recalled how prior to the movie, Jimenez had been acting strange, muttering to himself at dinner.

Gonzalez had purchased the four tickets to the movie and testified that during the film, Jimenez continued muttering and "death stares" made the three friends uncomfortable.

Gonzalez stated he became alarmed when Jimenez repeatedly told himself, "I can't do that to them."

Eventually, the three friends decided to leave the theater without Jimenez. According to Gonzalez, he asked if Jimenez wanted go with them but Jimenez declined.

Gonzalez stated he was unaware Jimenez had gone to his car during the movie to retrieve a gun and that had he known Jimenez was a danger to the couple, he would have warned them or called police.