Christopher Espiritu-Simpson Sentenced for 2017 Murder of Juanita Lolesio in Party Bus Shooting

Murder victim juanita lolesio. Image-GoFundMe
Murder victim Juanita Lolesio. Image-GoFundMe

(Anchorage, AK) – Wednesday, 24-year-old Christopher Wayne Espiritu-Simpson was sentenced by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna for shooting into an apartment on Dec. 27, 2017, and for murdering 19-year-old Juanita Lolesio on Dec. 30, 2017, in Anchorage.

Espiritu-Simpson previously pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder one count of second-degree weapons misconduct for shootings on Dec. 27, 2017, and Dec. 30, 2017.

On Dec. 27, 2017, Espiritu-Simpson and a juvenile shot at an apartment believed to be occupied by a rival gang member. Nobody was injured in that shooting. This conduct was the basis of the second-degree weapons misconduct conviction. On Dec. 30, 2017, Espiritu-Simpson and the same juvenile learned that a party bus was alleged to contain opposing gang members. The party bus was occupied by at least 16 people in celebration of a birthday. Espiritu-Simpson and the juvenile located the party bus and fired more than a dozen rounds into it. Lolesio was hit during the shooting. Lolesio remained on life support for 17 days before ultimately dying as a result of the gunshot wound. Espiritu-Simpson told police that he was one of the shooters of the party bus when interviewed. This conduct was the basis of the second-degree murder conviction.

At sentencing, the court was permitted to sentence Espiritu-Simpson to a sentence of active imprisonment between 15 and 60 years. The State requested a sentence of 50 years to serve. The defense requested a sentence between 20 to 30 years to serve. Several members of Lolesio’s family spoke at an emotional sentencing hearing. Lolesio was described as “the most genuine sweet soul” who loved her family and friends more than anything. She was an honor roll student with an infectious giggle. Other people on the bus, including her younger sister, described the horror of being on the bus and described continuing to have nightmares, being unable to celebrate birthdays, and constant fear and anxiety in social situations.

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Judge McKenna found that Espiritu-Simpson’s conduct was especially aggravated and was among the most serious second-degree murder cases. He also determined that it was motivated to further gang activity and said the defendant was lucky that only one person was hit. Espiritu-Simpson was sentenced by Judge McKenna to 60 years with 25 years suspended on the second-degree murder conviction. He was sentenced to two years to serve for the second-degree weapons misconduct conviction per agreement of the parties. He will be placed on felony probation supervision for a period of 10 years upon release.

This case was investigated by the Anchorage Police Department’s homicide unit. Espiritu-Simpson is currently in the custody of the Alaska Department of Corrections.