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Man Gets 27 Years to Life in Hospital Killing

A 23-year-old Sylmar man was sentenced to 27 years to life in state prison for shooting to death his ex-girlfriend in front of a dozen of her co-workers at a Van Nuys hospital.

Adam Rey Espinoza was convicted Aug. 5 by a Van Nuys Superior Court jury of first-degree murder in the death of Tina Guardiana, 24, of Sylmar on Dec. 8, 1986.

Espinoza came to Valley Hospital Medical Center, where Guardiana worked as a billing clerk, grabbed her by the hair and shot her twice with a handgun after she refused to leave with him. She died a few minutes later. Espinoza surrendered to Los Angeles police the next day.

Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz gave Espinoza the maximum sentence of 25 years for the murder and added two years because he used a gun.

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Espinoza’s attorney, Peter Krupinsky, had asked for a verdict of voluntary manslaughter, saying the fact that Espinoza shot Guardiana in front of a roomful of witnesses showed it was an unpremeditated act.

He contended that Espinoza became enraged over Guardiana’s refusal to discuss a police report she had filed accusing Espinoza of raping her.

But Deputy Dist Atty. Edward Nison argued that Espinoza deliberately killed Guardiana after she spurned him.

Guardiana’s relatives have filed a $5-million wrongful death suit in Van Nuys Superior Court accusing the hospital of negligent security.

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