BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — An Inglewood man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to rape, murder and all other charges and enhancements filed against him in the death of Bakersfield teen Patricia Alatorre.
Armando Cruz, 26, told the court he entered the agreement with the understanding the death penalty will be dropped and he’ll be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 1.
Cruz, who wore orange jail clothing and a face mask, said “guilty” or “admit” as a prosecutor read each charge and enhancement. A family member of Alatorre sobbed as the charges were read. The enhancements include tying or binding a child under 14 and inflicting great bodily injury on a child.
District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer sat near Alatorre’s family. Assistant District Attorney Joseph Kinzel joined her during the hearing.
Alatorre’s family initially reported her as a runaway, but a neighbor’s Ring camera captured her entering a white pickup on the evening of July 1, 2020. Detectives found conversations on her Instagram account between her and someone later identified as Cruz, according to court documents.
Investigators detained Cruz days later in Inglewood and he described in detail how he raped and killed Alatorre, 13. He directed them to locations where he left her cellphone and body, according to court documents.
The slaying sparked outrage and calls for Cruz to be put to death. A mural of Alatorre was painted in Downtown Bakersfield.
Cruz told detectives he strangled Alatorre then covered her mouth and nose with duct tape to make sure she was dead. He said he stopped as he drove back to Inglewood and threw Alatorre’s cellphone along Highway 99 near Herring Road, according to the documents.
He also gave the location where he left Alatorre’s body wrapped in a red sleeping bag behind a large construction vehicle in the Inglewood area, the filings say.