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M.O.M.S (Mothers of Murdered Sons/Daughters)
Ashland slaying still unsolved six years later
Reward fund now up to $100,000
By Kristofer Noceda
The Oakland Tribune
Posted: 02/03/2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Updated: 02/03/2010 09:35:40 AM PST
Click photo to enlargeMark Espinal was murdered in Cherryland six years ago. Despite many witnesses to the shooting,...«1234»ASHLAND — Randi Butterworth remembers everything about her son, but said all she sees today are images from his funeral. She would like to remember the good things that Mark Espinal did, but said she cannot. Not until those responsible for killing her son are found and arrested.
Today marks six years since Espinal, then 19, was gunned down in his driveway in unincorporated Ashland. No arrests have been made.
Investigators this week announced $30,000 has been added to the reward fund, bringing the total to $100,000.
"I want everyone to know how much I love and miss my son," Butterworth said. "I hope and pray someone comes forward with information. I want them to think of Mark as their own child, brother, father, uncle and nephew, because he was all of that."
Espinal at the time was working for UPS while living with his mother, stepfather and teenage sister. He had a son who was a year old who lived with the mother, whom Espinal was no longer seeing.
The investigation shows that early on the morning of Feb. 3, 2004, Espinal was in a car with four people who apparently were friends and acquaintances. They dropped him off at his house in the 1500 block of 167th Avenue about two hours before his work shift was to start.
When Espinal got out of the car, he was confronted on the sidewalk by two men. An argument occurred, and Espinal apparently scuffled with one of them. One of the men pulled out a handgun and shot Espinal
Investigators believe the two men were marijuana dealers in the area.
No arrests have been made because police have no evidence to go on, and the people in the car with Espinal have not been cooperative with investigators.
However, Sgt. Scott Dudek said several witnesses recently have come forward with information.
"We're hoping with increased awareness of the murder, we can receive better results so at some point we can arrest the persons responsible for this brutal murder," Dudek said.
Since she lost her son, Butterworth has had billboards put up requesting more information in the case. She also has created a Web site and distributed fliers.
The $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers includes $50,000 from the governor's office and $20,000 that Butterworth raised herself. The new $30,000 was donated by someone who wishes to remain anonymous, Dudek said.
"I know (Mark) is not here and know in my heart he's gone, but I still can't believe it," Butterworth said. "I just need one person to come forward so that we can get some kind of justice."
To view an online memorial for Mark Espinal, visit www.mark-espinal.memory-of.com.
To report information on the case, call the Alameda County Sheriff's tip line at 510-667-3622.
Staff writer Jason Sweeney contributed to this report. Kristofer Noceda covers Cal State East Bay, Chabot College, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and other unincorporated communities in the greater Hayward area. Contact him at 510-293-2479. Follow him at Twitter.com/Noceda_Reports.
I am so sorry Randi and know that you and Mark are always in our hearts...Luv ya...Laura & AV
I am so sorry Randi. I hope someone comes forward so that Mark's murders are brought to justice. I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. LOL, Paula
Randi I am so sorry for all you are dealing with. I feel so selfish because I constantly complain that JJ (Chritophers killer) just doesn't seem to serve enough time. And here you and so many others cant seem to get them the jail to begin with. How frustrating that has got to be.
Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Lets hold out the hope that MONEY TALKS.