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No-contest plea in ‘drive-by’


One of two young men charged with the attempted murder of a teenage girl in a car-to-car shooting in Palmdale entered a no contest plea this week and was immediately sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Fernando Albarran, 23, entered his plea to one count each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to a court clerk.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Chang ordered Albarran, who has been jailed on $6 million bail since his arrest, to return to court for a restitution hearing on Nov. 30.

Jury selection for the trial of his co-defendant, Jaime Alberto Espinoza, is scheduled to begin Wednesday at the Lancaster courthouse.

Espinoza, 22, is facing five counts each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon and one count of shooting at a vehicle.

Prosecutors allege the pair were in a vehicle that pulled up alongside a car near 17th Street East and Avenue R just after noon on Dec. 19, 2014, then one shot was fired.

A girl sitting in the front passenger seat was struck in the head and hospitalized in critical condition in what police said was a gang-related shooting. Albarran and Espinoza, both of Palmdale, were arrested several hours later.

Four other people, including a John Doe, are listed in the criminal complaint as attempted murder victims.

Espinoza had multiple prior arrests and was sentenced to 30-day jail stints at least twice on misdemeanor charges, according to Los Angeles County jail and court records.

Albarran had at least one previous arrest—on March 6, 2013—for which he was sentenced to 486 days in jail.