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2 suspects plead guilty to aiding in death of man found in burning vehicle

Two Coachella residents pleaded guilty today to being accessories in the death of a man whose body was found inside a burning vehicle in Thermal.

Ireneo Dominguez Lagunes, 58, and Daisy Cabrera Gil, 35, pleaded guilty Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, according to court records.

Gil was sentenced to two years in state prison. Lagunes had one felony count each of arson on property and having a fire explosive dismissed. He was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30.

Hector Ramiro Yamanaka Ruiz, 45, who is awaiting trial, is charged with one felony count each of murder, arson on property, and having a fire explosive, according to court records. He also faces a misdemeanor count of violating a domestic violence court order.

Hector Ramiro Yamanaka Ruiz

The charges stem from the July 14, 2022, death of Jesus M. Hernandez, 35, whose body was found around 2 a.m. inside a burning car in the 83000 block of Avenue 60 in Thermal.

During a preliminary hearing, Riverside County Sheriff's Department Investigator Daniel Cline testified that he interviewed Gil, who said that on July 13, 2022, she got into an argument with Ruiz, whom she was dating and living with at the time, and that at some point that night she kicked him out of their residence.  

While Ruiz was out of the residence, Gil got a message from Hernandez asking if she had anything to smoke and when she said yes, he went to her home, Cline said. They were smoking methamphetamine and began playing a dart game in the living room area when Ruiz allegedly entered the room with a firearm.

Gil said Hernandez motioned for Ruiz to calm down and backed away from him, but Ruiz allegedly shot him six to seven times, according to Cline. During a second interview, Gil said Hernandez reached for his gun on a table before Ruiz allegedly shot him, two to three times at first, and around three more times again after he fell to the ground.   

Ruiz said that when Gil kicked him out, he knew she was going to invite another man to the house, so he left a window open in one of the bedrooms and went to his friend's house allegedly to retrieve a firearm, Cline said. He went inside the home, heard the two wagering sex acts in the dart game, got angry, and walked into the room asking "What's going on here?" before allegedly shooting six times.

Ruiz said Gil yelled at him and told him they needed to do something about what happened, but Ruiz claimed he wanted to notify law enforcement, according to Cline. Gil advised against it due to her criminal record, according to the investigator.

She was then dropped off at someone's house and Ruiz went to Lagunes for help, Cline said. The two got gas and, with one of them driving Hernandez's vehicle and the other driving Gil's vehicle, they drove into a dirt area.   

The vehicle was then allegedly set on fire with Hernandez inside, according to Cline. The pair then drove to a gas station and went to pick up Gil, according to Cline. The crime scene was then cleaned with mops and bleach, which were discarded at a trash bin of some apartments in Coachella.

All three suspects were arrested in 2022 in Coachella.   

Ruiz was arrested July 29, 2022, near Mountain Drive and was being held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center, according to inmate records. Gil was arrested around the same time that day near Mazatlan Drive. Lagunes was arrested Aug. 1, 2022, near Valencia Lane and was being held at the John J. Benoit Detention Center on $1 million bail.

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