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Movie Theater Shooter Who Killed TikTok Star & His Date Sentenced After Insanity Defense Fails

Movie Theater Shooter Who Killed TikTok Star & His Date Sentenced After Insanity Defense Fails

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Joseph Jimenez Jr., the man who killed a TikTok star and his date at a movie theater in 2021, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The decision was made during a court hearing on Monday. Alongside life without parole, Joseph was also given 100 years to life — that’s 25 years to life for each murder and an additional 25 years to life for using a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to The Orange County Register.

This comes after the man shot and killed two teenagers — social media star Anthony Barajas, 19, and his date, Rylee Goodrich, 18, at the Regal Edwards Corona Crossings theater in Corona, California while watching The Forever Purge. Per reports, their bodies weren’t found until employees came to clean the theater when the screening was finished. Rylee died at the scene and Anthony passed away in the hospital a few days later.

Related: Missing American Sailing Couple Is ‘Presumed’ Dead In Caribbean

After initially pleading not guilty, Joseph, 23, eventually admitted to the killings but claimed insanity. During the trial, which took place in December 2023, he claimed he and his friends went to dinner before the movie and he began to hear voices threatening to kill him. He’d been hearing these voices for months, prompting him to buy a gun for protection.

As the voices progressed throughout the film, he went to get his weapon from the car. His friends later left him in the theater “mumbling and talking to himself” while they went to the bathroom, the arrest affidavit noted. But before they could go back in, they saw him “run outside the theater and run to his vehicle” and drive away.

During his testimony, the shooter said he believed the voices were coming from real people, and the teens — who were on their first date — were the only others at the movie. He allegedly cried before killing them because he understood it was wrong but it all felt “sort of surreal” and he was “in the heat of the moment.” Meanwhile, one of his pals testified that he’d been giving the teens “death stares” throughout the horror flick, muttering, “I can’t do that to them,” per ABC7. But Joseph’s friend did not know he had a gun on him or he would have sought help.

Standing up for Joseph, his sister Daisy Jimenez claimed he was diagnosed with schizophrenia with paranoid hallucinations following several stays in mental health facilities. He began hearing voices after his mother’s death. But during the trial, a judge ruled that he was sane. Ultimately, the judge and jury both decided that while he was schizophrenic, his decision not to regularly take his medication or avoid drugs combined with his behavior before and after the shooting couldn’t be ignored, resulting in his sentencing.

Outside the courthouse, Anthony’s mother Catherine Barajas expressed via Fox 11 Los Angeles:

“I’m very happy […] that this part is over. It’s time to close this chapter and focus on our son and to carry on his legacy. We’re going to do that by continuing to do small acts of kindness one at a time to make a difference in the world.”

Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims’ loved ones. We hope this helps them as they continue to mourn these losses.

To learn more about the impact of gun violence, visit

[Image via GoFundMe & Anthony Barajas/Instagram & Fox 11 Los Angeles/YouTube]

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Feb 27, 2024 14:59pm PDT