Man convicted of killing 2 women who were in car with ex-girlfriend
Joshua Enriquez cried on the stand and told Cook County jurors he didn’t mean to kill two women when he “bumped” into their car before it crashed on the Northwest Side in the spring of 2009.
The felon said he was only trying to get the attention of driver Maria Ortega, who he said nicked him with her car while he stood on a Humboldt Park street. All Enriquez wanted to know is why she had hit him, he said.
“I wasn’t thinking. I thought maybe she’d pull over,” said Enriquez, now 28.
“I was trying to get her attention.”
Jurors Thursday apparently didn’t buy Enriquez’s account of the May 3, 2009, crime and convicted him of two counts of murder and two counts of aggravated battery.
Enriquez was bent on inflicting harm on ex-girlfriend Karina Paredes and intentionally rammed his SUV into the Pontiac Grand Am she was traveling in until it flew off the road and crashed into a tree at Kedzie and Augusta, prosecutors contended.
Killed were Ortega’s sister, Gabriela “Gaby” Almanza, 22, and 19-year-old friend Nichole Mijares.
Mijares, who attended Josephinum Academy, was just a week away from prom and graduation when she was killed, her relatives said.
Enriquez “was a predator, and they were his prey,” Mijares’ brother Eddie Scharringhausen said.
Mijares’ mother said she was glad the trial was over but said she still doesn’t feel a sense of relief. For the longest time, she couldn’t go into Mijares’ room. She can’t even bear to put up decorations during Christmas — the holiday her slain teen enjoyed the most.
“He looked like he had no heart,” Karen Chew said, dismissing Enriquez’s tearful testimony. “Will I ever forgive him? I don’t know.”
The driver of the car, Ortega, took the stand against Enriquez and said she required nearly 60 stitches.
The ex-girlfriend, Paredes, told jurors that Enriquez stabbed, choked and shot her during their nearly two-year tumultuous relationship. She was also injured in the crash.
Enriquez on Wednesday said his SUV flipped over. He said he didn’t think the women were hurt when he walked away from the accident and called 911 using a fake name because he was “scared of being locked up.”
“Do you hear yourself crying in that call,” Assistant State’s Attorney Raymond Brogan asked Enriquez.
“No,” he replied.
Enriquez faces mandatory life in prison.