California Man Gets Life in Prison for Killing TikTok Star Anthony Barajas in 2021

California man sentenced to life for 2021 killing of TikTok star Anthony Barajas

A California man has received a life sentence in prison for the fatal shooting of two individuals, among them Anthony Barajas, a well-known personality on TikTok, during an incident at a movie theater in 2021.

Joseph Jimenez, aged 23, was handed a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, along with an additional 50 years, as declared by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in a statement released on Monday.

The tragic event occurred on July 26, 2021, during a screening at the Regal Edwards Theater in Corona, situated approximately 23 miles east of Anaheim. Jimenez was accused of the murders of Fylee Goodrich, 18, and Anthony Barajas, 19.

Following the sentencing on Monday, Catherine Barajas, the mother of Anthony, expressed her relief to reporters, stating, “It’s been a very long two and a half years, and it’s time to close this chapter to focus on our son and to carry on his legacy.” She added, “We’re going to do that by continuing to do small acts of kindness one at a time, to make a difference in the world and to keep him alive.”

California Man Gets Life in Prison for Killing TikTok Star Anthony Barajas in 2021
California Man Gets Life in Prison for Killing TikTok Star Anthony Barajas in 2021 (Credits: BBC News)

The discovery of the victims, with both having sustained gunshot wounds to the head, was made by theater staff on July 26. Goodrich was pronounced dead at the scene, while Barajas was rushed to the hospital, where he remained on life support for several days until succumbing to his injuries.

Jimenez, who was 20 years old at the time of the incident, was apprehended the day after the shooting at his residence in Corona. Subsequently, he faced charges of two counts of murder, accompanied by a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a firearm, resulting in death.

In September, Jimenez entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, with his defense asserting during the trial that he was undergoing a schizophrenic episode at the time of the shootings. However, in December, a judge ruled that Jimenez was legally sane during the commission of the crimes.

Reflecting on the trial and its outcome, Charles Kenyon, Jimenez’s attorney, conveyed in a press briefing after the sentencing, “Obviously, this is the end of a really painful experience for the entire community.” He emphasized the profound impact on all involved, stating, “As the judge correctly pointed out, there are three families that lost somebody, and it’s really hard to really articulate how devastating this trial and this experience was for everybody.”

Kenyon further criticized the mental health system, attributing the murders to its deficiencies. He highlighted Jimenez’s struggles with inadequate hospitalizations and insufficient mental health care, asserting, “I think it just goes to show you that our current system is very broken, and this is the ultimate example of how serious the results and consequences can be.”

Anthony Barajas, recognized on social media as @itsanthonymichael, had garnered nearly 1 million followers on TikTok.

Hi there, I am Elizabeth. I am an enthusiastic social worker and dancer. I recently graduated and have a huge interest in digital marketing and content writing. I love listening to music, and watching series and dramas; especially k-drama and kpop. I enjoy learning new languages as well.