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Felon who killed his aunt, wounded man during family banquet convicted of murder

USAF / Joshua Magbanua

After deliberating one day, a jury today convicted a 33-year-old felon of murder and other charges for fatally shooting his aunt and seriously wounding an acquaintance during a dispute at a family banquet in Riverside.   

Abraham David Bonilla killed 39-year-old Beatrice Romo of Beaumont and shot her friend, identified in court documents only as "Tommy,'' at the Elks Lodge on Brockton Avenue in 2018.

Jurors received the case Tuesday morning following closing arguments in the roughly weeklong trial Monday. The panel notified Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sam Shouka Tuesday afternoon that unanimous verdicts had been reached on all counts.

Along with murder, Bonilla was found guilty of attempted murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of controlled substances while armed, firearm assault, brandishing a gun and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

Shouka scheduled a sentencing hearing for Dec. 8 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. The defendant is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

The attack happened about 7 p.m. on June 30, 2018, during a leased family event at the lodge.

Investigators said Bonilla was among the attendees, and for several hours, nothing was out of order. But toward the end of the affair, an argument erupted between the defendant and another celebrant, at which point he brandished a .380 semiautomatic handgun at several partygoers, then opened fire, according to Sgt. Mike Crawford and prosecutors.  

Romo and Tommy were struck, though Bonilla did not intend to shoot his aunt when he started firing the compact pistol, according to the prosecution.   

Bonilla fled the location after the attack.  

Relatives loaded both victims into separate cars and rushed them to Riverside Community Hospital moments before officers converged on the scene.   

A short time later, officers learned that a man matching the shooter's description had been involved in a wreck in the area of Fremont Street and Jurupa Avenue and was receiving treatment from paramedics. Patrolmen went to the location and arrested Bonilla without a struggle.

Romo died during surgery less than two hours later. Tommy also underwent an operation for a wound to the upper body, from which he ultimately recovered.

Court records show Bonilla has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and gang activity.

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Article Topic Follows: Crime

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