A 23-year-old man charged with killing his girlfriend is an undocumented immigrant, officials confirmed to NBC Bay Area late Thursday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they were in the process of deporting Esmid Valentine Pedraza for a DUI. He's now charged in the murder of Stacey Aguilar, a 22-year-old San Jose mother who went missing on Feb. 14 and whose body was found riddled with gunshots in a rural part of Fremont on Feb. 20.
Pedraza was taken into custody Feb. 16 on a domestic violence charge related to the victim, and then arrested in connection with her death on Feb. 24.
Pedraza was formally charged Friday with one count of murder at the Alameda County Superior courthouse in Hayward. Pedraza’s alleged accomplice, Donato Perez, is charged as “accessory after the fact” and was also arraigned Friday afternoon. Perez, also an undocumented immigrant, helped Pedraza dispose of Aguilar’s body, according to the district attorney.
Alameda County's sanctuary policy dictates that local authorites only notify the federal government about someone's immigration status for serious convictions, gang affiliations or terror-related charges.
Earlier this month, Aguilar's mother said she believed her daughter was in an abusive relationship, and had begged her to return to Mexico.
Speaking by phone, Marisol Aguilar told Telemundo reporters in Spanish: "I didn't know. I didn't know anything. I didn't know he beat her. No one told me. No one told me anything."