BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The party was in full swing and the alcohol flowed.
Renee Molina downed shot after shot of Jim Beam Apple whiskey the night of Dec. 3 as she celebrated her birthday weekend, according to Ridgecrest police reports. She and her boyfriend danced and partied with friends at their home late into the evening, until she got sick and went to bed.
The house emptied except for Molina, boyfriend Joseph Loza and a 17-year-old girl, the reports say. Partygoers later said everyone had been having a good time.
But early the next morning Molina woke to find Loza and the teen making out, according to reports, and she grabbed a gun. Police arrived to find Loza, 24, dead on a bedroom floor, a single gunshot wound to his head.
Molina, 23, was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend of eight years. She’s held on $1 million bail and is due back in court Jan. 25.
Molina at first told police she got so drunk — she said she had seven or eight shots of whiskey — she didn’t remember anything. She said Loza must have shot himself. Sometimes he played Russian roulette, she told investigators.
Police pointed out a revolver is necessary for Russian roulette; the handgun used in the shooting wasn’t a revolver. Armed with statements from other partygoers, including the teen, detectives pressed her to tell them what happened. They asked about Loza’s relationship with the teen, and if Molina became jealous.
After repeated denials, Molina admitted picking up the gun after finding Loza and the teen together, the reports filed in Superior Court say. She said she pointed the gun at Loza and pulled the trigger, according to the filings. She told detectives the gun usually isn’t loaded and she only grabbed it to show Loza how upset he’d made her.
Several people had showed up to Molina’s home on Wilson Avenue by the time police arrived just before 2 a.m. on Dec. 4. One of them, his named redacted in the reports, had been on the phone with Loza when the shooting occurred.
That person told police he left the party but got a call from the 17-year-old, who left the house when caught with Loza and was crying. saying she wanted to go home, according to the documents. As he drove back to the house the man called Loza, who said Molina was “tripping” after finding him and the teen in the hallway, reports say.
They continued to talk. Loza said Molina was hitting him. Then he said she picked up a gun, the man told police. The man said he could hear the sound of a gun being cocked. But, the man said, Loza sounded as if he didn’t believe Molina would do anything.
Moments later, however, Loza said Molina turned the safety off and pointed the gun at his head, the man said according to the documents.
“You’re not going to shoot me, are you babe?” Loza said, according to the man. The man then heard a “pop” which he took to be a gunshot.
When Molina was brought outside in handcuffs, she kept saying “I’m so sorry” to two men standing nearby, police said in the documents.