KING CITY — California Board of Parole Hearings has granted parole and a future release date to Angela Zuniga, who was convicted of second-degree murder of a Salinas teenager in 2013.
Zuniga, of King City, was 21 years old at the time of the commission of the murder of 14-year-old Ricardo Ruiz. She then fled to Mexico and was apprehended on a warrant in 2014. In 2016, she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for dismissal of the first-degree murder charge.
On May 17, 2013, Zuniga — a known Sureño gang member recently released from prison for assault and placed on Post-Community Release Supervision — and her friend approached a group of five individuals, including Ruiz, in front of Jaliscience Taqueria in Salinas.
Zuniga asked Ruiz if he “banged.” After a short exchange, Zuniga then stabbed Ruiz in the left side of his neck with a knife, stating, “King City Trece,” a declaration of being a Sureño gang member from King City.
Good Samaritans attempted to stop the bleeding and rush Ruiz to the local hospital where surgery was performed, but he died four days later after being transferred to Stanford Medical Center.
At the May 3 parole hearing, the victim’s grandmother, mother, siblings and extended family were in attendance and pleaded with the Board of Parole not to release Zuniga.
“The victim’s grandmother told the Board her grandson was very young and had his whole life ahead of him, and that he was a brother, a son and a grandson, but above all else, a child of God,” according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in a news release. “She begged the Board to keep Ms. Zuniga behind bars.”
The Salinas chief of police also submitted his written, adamant opposition to Zuniga’s parole.
This was Zuniga’s first parole hearing. The Board of Parole found that Zuniga “demonstrated true remorse and credibility,” the DA’s Office said, and listed her accomplishments in prison and determined she had “adequate parole plans.”
“The Board lauded her participation in many programs offered during her second term in prison,” the DA’s Office added. “Her first term in prison had been replete with violence.”
In addition, the People attended the hearing and opposed release, citing minimization of Zuniga’s accountability and responsibility for the crime committed against Ruiz.
“The People questioned the sincerity of Ms. Zuniga’s rehabilitation and her credibility and emphasized the shocking nature of the crime,” the DA’s Office said. “The People remain concerned at Ms. Zuniga’s lack of insight and true remorse as evidenced by her evolving version of the facts and circumstances surrounding the murder.”
Pursuant to her minimum eligible parole date, Zuniga will be released May 1, 2024, after having then served nine years and eight months of a 15-to-Life sentence.