Man Accused of Killing Pregnant Teen Pleads Not Guilty

Bail increased to $5 million

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    Cepeda, bottom right corner, is accused of murdering his 18-year-old pregnant girlfriend.

    Th man accused of shooting an Escondido teenager and her unborn child pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder in court on Tuesday.

    Poway resident Ruben Anthony Cepeda, 21, allegedly shot his 18-year-old pregnant girlfriend Viridiana Rodriguez in the stomach on April 7. Emergency crews were called and transported her to a nearby hospital, but she and her unborn baby were pronounced dead about an hour later.

    Family Mourns Pregnant Woman, Child

    [DGO] Family Mourns Pregnant Woman, Child
    Escondido police are investigating the deaths of a pregnany woman and her unborn child. The victim's sister Yemely Rodriguez and her cousin Edelia Castilo spoke with NBC 7's Brandi Powell.

    Prosecutors said that Cepeda claimed it was an accident, but evidence shows the barrel of the gun was pressed directly against the victim's stomach. 

    The victim's sister, Yemely Rodriguez, told NBCSanDiego in April that the couple was excited, hugging and kissing before the shooting. She said she was in another room when she heard a gunshot.

    When Yemely found her sister, she saw Ruben holding her sister's stomach. He told Rodriguez to call 911 then left the apartment she said.

    Prosecutors said a friend of Cepeda's wrapped the gun in a t-shirt, and the two men left the apartment, leaving the three sisters behind.

    The victim's cousin Diana Rodriguez told officers that the couple had argued over an ex-girlfriend of Cepeda's.

    Diana told officers Ruben still texted with his ex-girlfriend and communicated with her via Facebook.

    The cousin claims Cepeda and the ex-girlfriend told each other how much they still love and miss one another.

    Court documents reveal Cepeda, 21, has a prior conviction for robbery in 2007.

    Prosecutors also said that Cepeda is a documented gang member, as was the friend who left with him that night. That friend is Jess Lopez, and is also now facing charges.

    "I just wish that they would have helped us out at that moment," Yemely told NBCSanDiego. "I mean I'm sure that things would've been different. You know, I'm sure that she probably would've been alive if hey would've helped us rush her to the hospital."

    After the arraignment, the judge increased Cepeda's bail to $5 million. He will appear in court again on June 21 for a readiness hearing.

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