Porterville police investigate third murder in 3 days


Local and state authorities are trying to find 28-year-old Carlos Espinosa who was released from prison in February for a murder conviction. Now he is wanted for another murder from Sunday.

Porterville police say Espinosa was angry when was kicked out of a small party at the St. James apartment complex in Downtown Porterville Sunday morning. Espinosa came back to the apartment complex a couple hours after he was kicked out of the party and stabbed the three people inside, killing one of them.

"Forced his way into the apartment stabbing one of the victims as he entered to the apartment, he then went back to one of the bedrooms to the apartment and stabbed the male victim in that room numerous times," said Sgt. Dominic Barteau with the Porterville Police Department.

Police say 37-year-old Esteban Mendoza was stabbed more than a dozen times before he died. His girlfriend, Elisa Mejia, who was in bed with him, was also stabbed by Espinosa one time.

Authorities say the suspect has a history with the victim's girlfriend.

"That was a relationship that had taken place in the past and had ended since but that altercation kind of came from that," Barteau said.

Police say Espinosa already has a violent history. He was convicted of murder out of the City of Lindsay back in 2001 and had been serving time in prison up to his release in February.

State parole agencies are helping Porterville police find Espinosa. Neighbor Robert Armstrong says he awoke early Sunday morning by sounds of someone screaming. He then saw Esteban Mendoza being rushed to the hospital.

"I saw the victim that I believed passed was getting wheeled out of the room and there was a lot of blood," Armstrong said.

The two other stabbing victims, David Chavez and Elisa Mejia, are expected to survive their injuries.

Police say if you see Carlos Espinosa do not approach him because they think he is armed and dangerous. Please call 911 if you know of his whereabouts.

The fatal stabbing marks the third homicide in Porterville in just three days. On Friday two people were shot and killed outside of Office Max.

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