May 28, 2024
Karina Sara Moreno Valdivia, 35, withdrew an insanity plea and admitted killing Suzanne Martinez, 89, and Martinez's daughter, Karen McCoy, 58, in 2020.

A 35-year-old Anza woman who attacked a mother and daughter with pruning shears, killing both, has been sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison.

Karina Sara Moreno Valdivia had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of murder in the deaths of Suzanne Martinez, 89, and Karen McCoy, 58, in 2020. But on July 18 at Southwest Justice Center in French Valley, she withdrew that plea and admitted to one count of murder and one count of voluntary manslaughter, said Amy McKenzie, a spokeswoman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Karina Sara Moreno Valdivia withdrew a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity before admitting guilt in the deaths of two of her neighbors in Anza in 2020. (Courtesy of Riverside County Sheriff’s Department) 

“This was a plea agreement with our office, and it was approved by the victims’ families,” McKenzie said. “The plea agreement held Ms. Valdivia accountable for both deaths and ensured that she serve an appropriate amount of prison time while taking into account the mitigating factors presented to our office by the defense.”

George McCoy, McCoy’s ex-husband, said the victims’ family members told him that Valdivia, who lived about 300 feet away from the women on Coyote Canyon Road, first threw a rock through a window on March 9, 2020, prompting Martinez to venture out in her motorized scooter to investigate. Valdivia then assaulted Karen McCoy with pruning shears, leaving her dead in a pool of blood in the garage.

Martinez tried to get away on her scooter, but Valdivia caught up and attacked her with the shears as well, he said. Martinez almost lost an ear to the attack, McCoy said. Martinez was recovering at a rehabilitation center when she died.

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