A woman and her boyfriend were found guilty of first-degree murder Thursday in connection with the kidnapping and homicide of the woman's husband in Monterey County in 2008, according to prosecutors.
Sergio Delacruz, 34, of Salinas, and Marisela Andrade, 33, of Wasco, face life in prison after being found guilty in the April 2008 killing of Andrade's 38-year-old husband Jose Zarate.
Prosecutors said the pair met in March 2008 and by the following month were planning the kidnapping and murder of Zarate via text messages.
Zarate's body was found by sheriff's deputies on April 14, 2008 in the trunk of an abandoned Ford Escort in a vineyard in the outskirts of Gonzalez, according to prosecutors. Zarate was reported missing earlier that day.
Andrade reported she had last seen her husband on April 11 prior to his trip to Monterey County for the weekend. She said she expected him to return the night of April 13, prosecutors said.
Cell phone records detailing text message exchanges between Andrade and Delacruz revealed a different story.
The messages hinted at a romantic relationship between the two and contained information about a plan to drug and murder Zarate, including references to rope, chloroform, guns, and leaving the door open to the home Andrade shared with Zarate in Wasco, a city in the Central Valley, prosecutors said.
Andrade was the beneficiary of Zarate's $400,000 life insurance policy, prosecutors said.
Confronted with the messages by detectives, Andrade admitted to a romantic relationship with Delacruz. She also disclosed she had participated in a plan to have her husband kidnapped, but only to be beaten up, according to prosecutors. She identified Delacruz as a participant in the plan.
When detectives confronted him, Delacruz confessed to taking Zarate from his home in Wasco to Monterey County and shooting him with his own pistol. That pistol was recovered during a drug raid 14 months later in San Francisco.
Both Andrade and Delacruz face life in prison without the possibility of parole.