Man gets life term for deadly stabbing at Bakersfield motel

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man convicted of murder in the deadly stabbing of a man at a motel was sentenced Thursday to 20 years to life in prison.

Jose Luis Valdez Esparza, 24, was also convicted of brandishing a knife at security guards during a robbery at Valley Plaza mall.

On Dec. 6, 2020, police arrived at the Motel 6 on Easton Avenue and found Corey Wayne Thomas, 28, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Thomas was pronounced dead at Kern Medical.

Surveillance footage showed Esparza try to steal from Thomas, according to prosecutors. The men fought and Esparza stabbed Thomas four times.

On March 16, 2021, officers called to the J.C. Penney at Valley Plaza mall learned a suspect identified as Esparza stole merchandise and, confronted by security guards, brandished a knife to get away, prosecutors said.

Esparza was arrested at Wilson Park just east of the mall.

A jury in September found Esparza guilty of second-degree murder and robbery.

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