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SALT LAKE CITY — A 3rd District Court jury found a Salt Lake City man guilty of murder Friday in the shooting death of a woman in Magna home in 2017.
Gino James Cecala, 47, could face up to life in prison when he is sentenced. The jury also found him guilty on other charges related to the killing, including discharge of a firearm with serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and 13 counts of discharge of a firearm, all third-degree felonies, according to court documents.
His next hearing is slated for May 31.
Cecala was charged with murder on July 28, 2017, in connection with the shooting death of 25-year-old Paige Espinoza, of Murray, on July 16, 2017. Cecala remained at large until he was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Dallas, Texas, on Dec. 5, 2017, and was later extradited back to Utah.
Espinoza was visiting a home at 8360 W. Mix Ave. and was shot and killed while she was inside a basement bedroom, according to police. She was shot once in the head and also in one of her legs.
Police also found 15 casings from a 9mm gun outside the bedroom window. Her boyfriend told investigators back in July 2017 that he and Cecala had been “having problems” and Cecala had made “multiple threats” to kill him and Espinoza prior to the shooting, according to court documents.
A search warrant filed in 3rd District Court was unsealed in March 2019. According to that warrant, Espinoza’s boyfriend told authorities Espinoza was acting “normal” and in a good mood the night of her death until she looked at messages on her phone minutes before the shooting.
Detectives analyzed the phone but couldn’t find any incoming or outgoing texts during that time. However, they were trying to determine at that time if the messages were sent through a social media app.
The trial began Tuesday and given instructions for a verdict Thursday before Friday’s decision.