Accused Killer of Innocent Victim on Way Home From Church Will Stand Trial

A man will be tried in the killing of an Escondido woman shot on her way home from a church event, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Catherine Kennedy, 55, was struck by a bullet while driving on Grand Avenue on March 7.

Dionicio Crespin Torrez, Jr., 24, faces one count of murder, one count of attempted murder of rival gang members and two counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle. 

A 16-year-old accomplice was also charged. NBC 7 is not identifying the alleged accomplice because he is a juvenile.  The decision on whether the teenager should be tried as an adult will be made at a later date. 

Both defendants have pleaded not guilty. 

Because of the alleged gang affiliation, Torrez faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of the charges.

Kennedy was a volunteer youth minister at St. Timothy's. Her husband, Kevin is involved in the religious education program. She is survived by her husband and 24-year-old daughter, Alicia De La Rosa.

“This was an innocent victim driving down the street we believe coming home from a church function and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Escondido Lt. Justin Murphy told NBC 7 in the days after the shooting.

Torrez will be in court for an arraignment on November 6. 

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