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Mark Espinal - Online Memorial Website

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Mark Espinal
Born in New York
19 years
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Mark was brutually murdered in the driveway of our home on February 3, 2004, San Leandro, CA. No one has been arrested or convicted yet. Please help us find who ended Mark's life. Thank you.Mark Espinal's Family










If we could have a lifetime wish,
A dream that could come true.
We'd pray to God with all our heart for
yesterday and You.

A thousand words can't bring you back,
We know because we've tried.
Neither will a thousand tears
We know because we cried.

You left behind our broken hearts
And happy memories too....
But we never wanted memories
We only wanted You....

Author Unknown








Please scroll down to see Mark's site. Thank you.





















Mark Anthony Espinal
MARK ANTHONY ESPINAL Entered tragically into rest on
February 3, 2004. He was 19 years old. Born in New York on December 29, 1984, Mark was a warehouseman for U.P.S. He was devoted to his family and enjoyed riding motorcycles, jet skiing, music, art and paintball. Mark was treasured by all who knew him and will be deeply missed. He is survived by his beloved son, Mark A. Espinal Jr. of San Lorenzo; mother and stepfather, Randi Lynn & Mark Butterworth of San Leandro; sister, Alyssa L. Butterworth of San Leandro; grandfather, Joaquin Espinal and grandmother, Ida Roman, both of New York; step-grandfather, Ronald Butterworth of Alameda; many loving extended family and cherished friends. Family and friends are invited to gather for a celebration of Mark's life at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Grissom's Chapel & Mortuary, 267 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo. In lieu of flowers, a trust fund has been established for Mark Jr. Donations may be sent to Mark Espinal, Jr., c/o Bank of America, 1200 Fairmont Dr., San Leandro, CA 94578. GRISSOM'S CHAPEL & MORTUARY 510-278-2800
Published in the ANG Newspapers on









San Leandro Father Gunned Down In Driveway
POSTED: 10:47 am PST February 3, 2004
SAN LEANDRO -- Alameda County Sheriff's officials said a 19-year-old man was shot and killed in front of his home in unincorporated San Leandro early Tuesday after getting into an argument with two men.

Video On Demand: Tearful Family Makes Plea In Fatal San Leandro Shooting
Sheriff's officials said they received a report of shots fired in the 1500 block of 167th Avenue at 12:18 a.m.
Units that arrived on the scene found Mark Anthony Espinal lying in the driveway of a residence. Sheriff's officials said Espinal sustained multiple gun shot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sheriff's officials said they later learned that several friends dropped off Espinal in front of his residence just before the incident. They said Espinal immediately became involved in an argument with two black males who were walking on the sidewalk.
The argument ended when one of the two suspects shot the victim, authorities said. The suspects then fled eastbound on
167th Avenue toward Liberty Street. No suspect vehicle was seen leaving the area.
Sheriff's officials describe one of the suspects as a black male adult, about 18 to 20 years old, 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 2 inches tall, dark-skinned, 130 to 150 pounds, and slender build. He was wearing a red pullover, black or dark blue pants and a black or dark blue beanie.
The second suspect is described as a black male adult, medium-complected, about 18 to 20 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, with black hair. He was wearing dark blue pants, a navy peacoat, and a dark-hooded sweatshirt-type jacket.
Copyright 2005 by
Bay City News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Espinal, Mark, murdered Feb. 3, 2004, age 19;
Ashland resident; son Mark Jr.; mother and stepfather Randi and Mark Butterworth.





Father, 19, shot, slain in front of home
Henry K. Lee
Wednesday, February 4, 2004

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A man was shot and killed in front of his home in unincorporated San Leandro during an argument early Tuesday, authorities said.
Mark Anthony Espinal, 19, was shot numerous times about
12:15 a.m. on the 1500 block of 167th Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Espinal, the father of a 1-year-old boy, had just been dropped off at his home when he began arguing with two men walking on the sidewalk, said Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek.
No arrest has been made.
Page A - 18 





Family seeks tips in man's slaying
Henry K. Lee
Thursday, August 26, 2004

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The family of a man fatally shot in the driveway of his home in unincorporated San Leandro handed out flyers Wednesday seeking tips in the unsolved slaying.
Mark Anthony Espinal, 19, was shot repeatedly about
12:15 a.m. Feb 3 outside his home on 167th Avenue. Espinal, the father of a 1-year-old boy, had just arrived home when he began arguing with two men walking on the sidewalk, said Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek.
Family members and sheriff's deputies passed out flyers near the corner of
167th Avenue and Liberty Street near Interstate 580.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to an arrest and prosecution. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Pete Norton at (510) 667-3666 






Two men sought in fatal shooting

By Ivan Delventhal, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay Area

Drawing on the memories of several witnesses, investigators on Wednesday released sketches of two men sought in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man slain in front of his family home in Ashland in February.
Mark Anthony Espinal was shot multiple times in the driveway of the home, in the 1500 block of






03/30/05 2:35 PST
After more than a year with no suspects in custody for the killing of a 19-year-old San Leandro man in front of his home in February 2004, the family and Alameda County sheriff's deputies will hand out fliers with composite sketches of the suspects this evening.
Just after
midnight on Feb. 3, 2004, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office received reports of shots fired in the 1500 block of 167th Avenue, in an unincorporated area of San Leandro.
When deputies arrived on the scene, sheriff's officials reported finding Mark Anthony Espinal lying in the driveway of his home with multiple gunshot wounds.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The family of Espinal handed out fliers in August with descriptions of the suspects, hoping to drum up some leads in the case.
In December, after several witnesses came forward, the sheriff's office released composite sketches of two men wanted in connection with the shooting.
The suspect who reportedly shot Espinal is described as an 18- to 20-year-old black man, 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 130-150 pounds. Officials said he has a dark complexion and was wearing a red pullover, black or dark blue pants, and a black or dark blue beanie.
The second suspect also is described as a black man, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall. Officials said his hair was in numerous small twist dreadlocks, and he was wearing dark pants, a navy peacoat and a dark hooded sweatshirt.
Both suspects are described as being about 18 to 20 years old with removable gold caps on their front teeth.
The family and sheriff's office are again hoping that by handing out fliers in the community, someone will come forward with information on the case.
Sheriff's personnel and the Espinal family will be on the corner of
167th Avenue and Liberty Street from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. handing out fliers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at (510) 667-7721 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 667-3622 






Article Last Updated: 12/26/2004 08:21 AM

2004: The year in homicides
Eighteen people were slain in Hayward, San Leandro and unincorporated Alameda County
By Ivan Delventhal, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay Area

HAYWARD — Murder. The unlawful taking of a human life with malice aforethought.
As the year comes to a close, 18 people met violent deaths in
Hayward, San Leandro and unincorporated Alameda County.
Nine people — eight men and one woman — were killed in
Hayward in 2004. Six people — five men and an 18-year-old woman — were killed in unincorporated Alameda County, including one man fatally shot by a CHP officer in Sunol. Three people — two men and a woman — were slain in San Leandro.
Of the 18 local homicides, 15 resulted from shootings. Of the remaining three, one person was asphyxiated, another was strangled and a third died when a pursuing car pushed the vehicle she was riding in off the road in
Castro Valley.
The number of people killed was very similar to the total from a year earlier, when the same agencies had a combined total of 17 homicides.
Hayward has averaged 10 homicides annually over the last five years. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office, which provides police services to unincorporated areas including Castro Valley and San Lorenzo, has investigated about three slayings per year over the last five years, though nine were recorded in the county in 2003. San Leandro has had about four slayings per year over the last five years.
U.S. murder rate in 2002 — the latest year for which complete numbers are available — was 5.7 slayings for every 100,000 people, based on a total of
16,503 homicides nationwide that year, according to FBI crime data.
Census figures show that
Hayward has a population of 140,000 and San Leandro 80,000.
Success for homicide squads is measured in the number of cases "cleared" — those slayings in which a suspect is arrested and charged and turned over for prosecution, or is positively identified and located and there is enough evidence to support an arrest.
Hayward police cleared two of nine homicides, for a clearance rate of about 22 percent; sheriff's investigators cleared five of six slayings, or 83 percent; and San Leandro has cleared one of its three homicides.
In the last year, law enforcement
agencies across the country cleared, on average, 62.5 percent of reported murders, according to FBI statistics.
Local police investigators said that,for the most part, even in cases that are open, they generally have an idea of who is responsible, just not enough evidence to support the filing of murder charges.
In many cases, the hindrance involves witnesses' unwillingness to come forward.
In a series of year-end interviews, local investigators discussed the year's homicide cases, both solved and unsolved.
The cases
On Jan. 18, David W. Brooks, 45, and his wife, Cathleen L. Brooks, 50, were found shot to death in their home on East 12th Street in South Hayward. The double-homicide remains unsolved and the motive has not been revealed. Though witnesses have been "less than forthcoming," police remain confident the case will be solved.
On Feb. 3, Mark A. Espinal, 19, was shot in front of the Ashland home in which he lived with his family.
Investigators believe he was shot execution-style after a confrontation and struggle. The slaying remains unsolved although investigators recently released sketches of the gunman and his companion.
On April 13, Rene Cuevas, 35, was fatally shot by his cousin Manuel Castillo Cuevas, 38, in the home they shared on Western Boulevard in Hayward. Manuel Cuevas was convicted of second-degree murder in July and may be sentenced in January.
On April 24, Jaden E. Soto, 24, of
Fremont was shot and killed by a California Highway Patrol officer after, authorities said, he pointed a gun at officers.
On May 21, Jose Guadalupe Sanchez, 18, of
Hayward was fatally shot on Orlando Avenue in Hayward. Investigators believe the homicide may be gang-related, even though the victim himself may not have had gang ties.
On May 28, Shenise McLemore, 22, was found asphyxiated in a room at the Islander Motel in
San Leandro.
Police have identified a 28-year-old convicted rapist from
Oakland as a suspect in the case, but say there is not enough evidence to file charges.
On June 22, Jose Munguia, 23, of Bay Point was found shot to death in a field off
Mountain House Road in Livermore. Sinohe Hercules, 23, of Stockton was arrested in October and charged with murder in Munguia's death.
Investigators said Munguia was shot during an argument.
Also on June 22, Michelle M. Dickerson, 18, of Manteca died when the car she was riding in was allegedly rammed off the road in Castro Valley by Laura D. Medina, the driver of the pursuing vehicle.
Medina, 21, of Oakland, was charged with murder and remains in custody on $2 million bail.
Court records state that
Medina allegedly pursued and rammed the other car after spotting her boyfriend in it with Dickerson. Medina has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a preliminary hearing.
On Aug. 21, Joey Manfredi, 32, of
Hayward was shot and killed in a home on Tehama Avenue in Hayward.
The slaying came to light several days later when a man who disposed of Manfredi's corpse in rural
Calaveras County went to police. Two women, Nancy E. Manuel, 43, and Celia L. Widman, 37, have been charged with murder in the case. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting a preliminary hearing.
On Sept. 11, Jeff Lee Arroyo, 45, of Castro Valley was shot and killed in his car on 163rd Avenue and Helo Drive.
In November, 23-year-old Joe Moore was arrested and charged with special-circumstance murder in Arroyo's death.
Moore is accused of shooting Arroyo during a robbery.
On Sept. 13, Benito Torres Maldonado, 39, of
Union City was found shot to death on a sidewalk near the Chapel of the Chimes in South Hayward. Investigators said the slaying may have resulted from a "parting of friendships."
On Sept. 24, William Simpson, 27, of Oakland and a companion were shot as they waited for a ride at a bus stop on East 14th Street near Bayfair Center in San Leandro. Simpson died; his friend survived. The shooting remains unsolved and witnesses have been uncooperative, police said.
On Sept. 29, Ramon Latre, a 50-year-old transient, was shot to death in a mini-park at
Jackson and Meek streets in Hayward. The killing is unsolved, though investigators said recently they had developed some very good leads.
On Oct. 20, James K. Wooldridge, 32, was fatally shot in a parking lot at
Tyrrell Elementary School in Hayward. Some solid leads have emerged, according to investigators, though no arrests have been made.
On Nov. 7, Dong Tran, 50, was found strangled at the independent living psychiatric home at which he was a resident. A roommate, Michael Scott Diamond, 35, was charged with murder. Diamond, according to family, has battled bipolar disorder and schizophrenia for 20 years.
On Nov. 25, Alberto Vazquez Gonzalez, 32, was fatally shot on
Thelma Street in Hayward. Investigators have since secured a warrant for the arrest of the alleged gunman, identified as 27-year-old Miguel Angel Valencia.
On Dec. 4, Ruben Arturo Perez, 26, of
San Leandro was shot and killed on a San Leandro street.
The alleged gunman, identified by police as Adam Galvan, 20, surrendered to police about a week later and has been charged with murder.
Ivan Delventhal covers crime, police and courts. Call him at (510) 293-2469 or send e-mail to 





Grief remains fresh one year after killing
Family wants justice; investigators say they have leads in
Ashland slaying
By Ivan Delventhal,
Inside Bay

Randi Butterworth says she stopped living one year ago today.
For the past 12 months, she has just been existing.
Life as she knew it ended
Feb. 3, 2004, with the fatal shooting of her 19-year-old son, Mark Anthony Espinal, in front of the family home in unincorporated San Leandro. The slaying remains unsolved.
Justice, and closure, can't come soon enough, Butterworth said. A $10,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the killers.
"I died in so many ways when Mark was taken from me," Butterworth, 36, said Wednesday on the eve of the somber anniversary. "He's the first person I think of when I wake up and the last person I think of when I go to sleep."
Alameda County sheriff's detectives have said the shooting in front of the home on 167th Avenue in Ashland occurred during an argument and struggle with two men as Espinal was being dropped off by some friends.
The timing of Espinal's death was especially cruel. Three days after he was gunned down, his family's offer on a new house was accepted. They have moved since the killing.
Family members said that while Espinal had had some brushes with the law as a youth, he was on the right track at the time of his death.
He was born in
New York and had lived locally for 17 years. He graduated from Royal SunsetHigh School in 2002 and was working as a warehouse loader for UPS when he was slain. Espinal's son, Mark Espinal Jr., recently turned 2.
Tonight, the family will gather to remember Espinal and indulge in his favorite foods: chicken tacos, bacon cheeseburgers, Skittles, Starburst and licorice.
Butterworth hopes that somehow, someday, she will be able to stop dwelling on the final moments of her son's life.
"I have 19 years of memories, but his death I can't get over," said Butterworth, who had her son at 16.
Butterworth, a receptionist, is still holding on to some of the things her son treasured. One item is a 1969 Chevy Impala, "his dream car," given to him by his father as a Christmas present several years ago. He had done body work on the classic car. Now Butterworth wants to finish the restoration job.
Espinal's sister, 13-year-old Alyssa Butterworth, said she prays that justice isn't far off.
"I still feel that there are a lot of people out there that know who did this and who should come forward," she said. "I just want to know why. That's the main question. Why? Why him?"
Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek said Wednesday that detectives are pursuing some "significant and promising" leads in the case.
"We're hoping to make an arrest in this case in the very near future," Dudek said. He declined to elaborate.
Investigators are seeking two men in connection with the shooting. They are described as African American, about 18 to 20 years old, both with removable gold caps on their front teeth.
The gunman is described as about 6 foot 1, 130 to 150 pounds. The second man was about 5 foot 7 and had his hair styled in dreadlocks. Investigators released sketches of the men in December.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Pete Norton at (510) 667-3666.
A Web site established in Espinal's memory can be accessed at
Ivan Delventhal covers crime and the courts. Call him at (510) 293-2469 or send e-mail to 






E. B. Publishing > San Leandro Times > News Story

Mother Pleads for Help in Finding Son's Killers
By : Linda Sandsmark : 1/31/06

A sad anniversary is approaching for the family of Mark Anthony Espinal, a young man who was gunned down in unincorporated San Leandro two years ago.

Police released these composite sketches of the suspects in Espinal's murder.
No one has been arrested for the
Feb. 3, 2004 murder, and his mother is still hoping that someone will help detectives solve the case. A $20,000 reward and anonymous tip line are available.

“It has been a very long two years for all of us, and we desperately want to know what happened to Mark that early morning in the driveway of our home,” says his mother, Randi Butterworth. “I just hope that somebody will help my family to help us find out who ended Mark’s life. I really pray that everyone will take a moment and think back almost two years ago on that tragic night.”

Butterworth says that she believes someone knows what happened to her son but are afraid to come forward. She says they have nothing to fear because they can remain anonymous. It is also possible that someone saw something but did not think it important at the time. But sometimes what seems incidental can be crucial to an investigation.

The shooting occurred about
12:18 a.m. in front of Butterworth’s home on the 1500 block of 167th Avenue. Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies found Espinal on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. According to the Sheriff’s department, two African American males had gotten into an argument with Espinal, which ended in Espinal’s shooting.

Composite sketches of the suspects have been released by investigators. Both were described as 18 to 20 years old, dark skinned with removable gold caps on their teeth. The shooter is described as 6 feet 1 inch, to 6 feet 2 inches, 130 to 150 pounds with a slender build. He was wearing a red pullover jacket, dark pants and dark beanie.

The second suspect was shorter, 5 feet 6, to 5 feet 7 inches tall, wearing a navy pea coat, dark pants, and dark hat. At the time his hair was in numerous dreadlocks with possible blond tips.

The anonymous tip line number is 667-3622, lead detective on the case is Det. Pete Norton, 667-3666, and Sgt. Scott Dudek may also be reached at 667-3661.

Espinal leaves behind his parents, a sister in high school, and a young son.

“Mark was a real person with a family that loved and still loves him dearly,” says his mother. “I realize that finding the person or persons responsible will never bring my son back to us, but if and when they are caught I want them to know what they did to my son, to my family, and to so many others. When they killed my son, they killed me in so many ways.”

Copyright EastBay Publishing Corporation 2004 - 2020








Painful memory haunts mother
Oakland Tribune,



Painful memory haunts mother
Oakland Tribune,
Feb 5, 2006 by Ricci Graham, STAFF WRITER

SAN LEANDRO -- The sight of a mother with her child deepens Randi Butterworth's pain and serves as a constant reminder of her family's loss.

It's been that way since the day Butterworth's son -- Mark Anthony Espinal -- was shot and killed in front of her family's home on
167th Avenue two years ago.

"When I see young kids walking with their moms, I think about what he was like when he was small," Butterworth said. "I think about his death so much that sometimes it kind of interferes with the good memories.

"It's the most difficult thing in my life that I have had to go through. It's been two years. I know he's gone, but I guess in my heart, I still can't believe it."

Butterworth's tranquil life was shattered beyond reason on
Feb. 3, 2004.

Sgt. Scott Dudek, a homicide detective for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, said that before the shooting Espinal had argued and struggled with two unknown assailants, described as African- American males.

Butterworth has anxiously waited for an arrest in the case so she can close this painful chapter in her life. But as the days turned into months, Butterworth became fearful the crime will never be solved.

"When the people are arrested, I know that's not going to bring him back," said Butterworth, who along with her husband, Mark, was asleep when the shooting occurred. "But I want them to realize what they did, and they need to pay for what they did."

As police continue to search for her son's assailant, Butterworth does what she can to help authorities.

She has circulated thousands of fliers asking for the public's help and is offering a $20,000 reward to anyone with information that will lead to an arrest.

"I just want the community to realize that he was my child, and to think back," Butterworth said. "Maybe they saw something they think was normal activity. It might be crucial to theinvestigation."

Meanwhile, Dudek said investigators are making progress.

"There are leads in that we're pursuing," Dudek said. "We're confident that ... we will make an arrest. We do have leads that are substantial, and we are moving forward."

Since Espinal's death, the family has relocated from the home where the shooting occurred. Butterworth is so shaken by her son's slaying that she refuses to say where she and her family now live.

Butterworth added that she and her daughter Alyssa, 14, have been hit so hard emotionally that they have undergone weekly therapy sessions to learn how to cope with their loss.

"That was so hard for her and it still is," Butterworth said. "It has changed our lives so drastically, it's unbelievable. I really have no word to describe it. It's like you're dying inside."

In making what has become an annual plea for the public's help, Butterworth said she can't imagine there were no witnesses to the shooting.

"It was late at night, and I guess there weren't a lot of people out," she said. "But I know for a fact that there were people out in that neighborhood.

"Someone saw something, either one of the neighbors or maybe someone driving on the street. I don't know how someone can live with themselves and not coming forward."

Anyone with information about the shooting death of Mark Anthony Espinal is urged to call Detective Pete Norton at (510) 667-7478 or Detective Scott Dudek at (510) 667-7478.






Ashland mother still set on finding son's killer
With no new leads, family advertises for witnesses
By Alejandro Alfonso, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated:11/24/2006 02:51:45 AM PST

ASHLAND — When Mark Espinal was shot and killed in the driveway of his Ashland home, police were unable to identify who pulled the trigger — even though they believe there were several witnesses to the crime.
Nearly three years later, police have lost the trail of any promising leads, and Espinal's family is still looking for justice. But at least one person is keeping the investigation alive and in the public eye.

Randi Butterworth, Espinal's mother, hasn't given up on finding her son's killer. Her dedication has kept police motivated to find the gunman by reviewing the case every month. And all this month, on a billboard in the community where the murder occurred, she is asking the public to help answer the question: "Do you know who murdered our son, Mark Espinal, on
February 3rd, 2004?"

The billboard, near where LewellingBoulevard and
East 14th Street meet in Ashland, can be seen from Interstate 238 and offers a $20,000 reward for information. It will be up until the end of November. Butterworth hopes someone with knowledge of the crime will see the picture of her son and give police new leads to follow in the case, which is being worked by the Alameda County Sheriff's cold case unit.

In an unusual move, CBS Outdoor, the billboard's owner, donated the space to Butterworth's cause.

"It is certainly not something we do all the time," said Steve Shinn, a company spokesman. "She was persistent, and it is certainly an appropriate way to
use our medium. We know it can be effective, and I hope it helps generate some leads to who murdered her son."
The billboard was blank when Butterworth approached Shinn with the request. She paid $1,000 for the production of the design by CBS Outdoor and Shinn waived all other costs for keeping the billboard up.

What frustrates Butterworth and detectives is that they know there are people out there with knowledge of what happened, but for some reason those people are not talking. On the night he was killed, Espinal had returned home with four friends. As he pulled into his driveway, two men came up to the car. It is not clear what took place next, but one of the men shot Espinal several times. The four people with Espinal ran from the scene.

Within the first 72 hours, police took statements from the witnesses who said the shooter had been selling drugs in the neighborhood. But as the investigation progressed, cooperation by witnesses died out.

"They just decided it is what it is," said Sgt. Scott Dudek, sheriff's cold case unit. "They've already witnessed them kill someone; perhaps they think, 'If I help the police, I could be killed.'"

Dudek dismisses the fear as derived from television dramas. He said it is rare for a witness in a murder investigation to be killed.

"Basically you have to step up to the plate," he said.

The passage of time can also be crucial to solving a cold case, Dudek said — especially if the case continues to receive public attention — because the guilt of the person holding on to information that may solve the case becomes too much to bear.

"Someone had to have seen something," Butterworth said. "I don't let it die down. I'll call up whoever I have to and do whatever I have to do to remind people that I need to find out who murdered my son."














Mother marks anniversary of son's unsolved slaying
By Alejandro Alfonso, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 02/05/2007 09:09:20 AM PST

Randi Butterworth (center) of Hayward, mom of murder victim Mark Espinal, releases balloons with others at the Ashland Community Center on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, in unincorporated Ashland, Calif. It was the third anniversary of her son's murder. (Jane Tyska/The Daily Review) 

ASHLAND — Randi Butterworth awoke three years ago to a parent's worst nightmare: The sound of gunfire brought her out of bed and onto her driveway where her son, Mark Espinal, 19, lay dead from several gunshot wounds.
The homicide remains unsolved.

Since the night of Espinal's death, Butterworth has not been able to rest. She has been relentless in her efforts to find out who killed her son.

"It's very hard. Three years — unbelievable," she said.

To mark the third anniversary of her son's death on Feb. 3, 2004, Butterworth on Saturday released a hundred helium-filled balloons, each containing a piece of paper bearing the address of a Web site she has dedicated to his memory,

"I put a lot of my time and effort into finding out who murdered Mark," she said. "My mind is always going, it never sleeps, never stops, because I have to find out who did it. I want the community and the Sheriff's Department to know I'm never leaving, the community will always be reminded of Mark Espinal."

Her restlessness has led her to put up thousands of posters over the years. She is constantly in contact with detectives working on the case. Anyone driving down
East 14th Street or on Interstate 238 can see a billboard with Espinal's image, offering a $20,000 reward for information.

"Randi has been relentless in her pursuit to find the murderer," Alameda County Sheriff's Detective Ray Kelly said. "And it is important to the
community that this case gets solved.
"People who know what happened are still in the community," he said. "It will be a community effort that makes or breaks what we do, someone needs to step up, and we will keep them anonymous."

There were four other people in thecar with Espinal when he pulled into the driveway that night; they ran away when he was shot. "Mark's so-called friends," Butterworth calls them. Although they gave limited statements in the 48 hours after the shooting, they have not cooperated with authorities since, adding to Butterworth's frustration.

"Someone out there, they have to know something," she said. "Especially in that community, people are always out, night and day, all hours, and he was with four people, how do you not know?

"I just hope that whoever knows what happened will come forward with information," Butterworth said. "Even if they don't think it's important, it might be the piece of evidence the Sheriff's Department needs to solve the case."

Her own experience has made Butterworth sensitive to what happens in the community when someone is killed.

"This is getting to be so common, people getting murdered, it's so sad" she said.

Whenever she reads about or sees a news report of a murder, she realizes her work to find Mark's killer has become more difficult.

"Every time there is a murder, it really hits home because I've had a child murdered," she said. "And of course I want my son's case to be worked on, but that's not the case. When people are out there killing people, my son's murder gets bumped down to the bottom of the so-called pile."

She likens her struggle to a battle against a rising tide.

Alejandro Alfonso can be reached at (510) 293-2469 or 









Banners hung to jump-start cold case
Family, sheriff keep up search for teen's killer
By Rachel Cohen, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 07/13/2007 09:19:26 AM PDT 


Click photo to enlargeAlameda County Sheriff Department Sgt. Scott Dudek (right) watches as Mark and Randi Espinal...«1»ASHLAND — Less than a block from where Mark Espinal was shot and killed in the driveway of his home, his parents hung a banner Thursday asking for anyone with information about his slaying to come forward.
Feb. 3, 2004, Espinal's mother, Randi Butterworth, awoke to a parent's worst nightmare. The sound of gunfire brought her out to her driveway on 167th Avenue, where her son lay dead from gunshot wounds.

Next month will be 31/2years since 19-year-old Espinal was killed. The homicide remains unsolved.

"What the community thinks, what the killer probably thinks, is that we're goingto forget it," Butterworth said. "We're not going anywhere."

Espinal's parents, Randi and Mark Butterworth, hung a 5-foot-long banner in front of the
Ashland Community Center at 167th Avenue as well as on the fence next to a bus stop a block away, on East 14th Avenue. It and another banner were created and paid for entirely by the sheriff's department.

Tony Noori, owner of Noori's Car Dealership on
East 14th Street, where the second banner was hung, said: "It's a good cause. More exposure means a better chance they might find the murderer."

The banners bear a color picture of Espinal and two suspects' descriptions. Four other people were in the car with Espinal when he pulled into the driveway that night. They ran away when he was shot.

"The person who knows is just as worse as the person who murdered my son," Butterworth said. "How do you know something
and not come forward?"
She said a lot of people know about what happened but no one wants to get involved and that not a day goes by when she doesn't think about her son. About a year ago, she created a Web site dedicated to his memory,

The Butterworths previously had two billboards — one above Interstate 238 and East 14th Street, and one around the corner from 167th Avenue — asking for information.

"When the billboards were up, I found myself driving by all the time just to check up on them," Butterworth said.

Butterworth also wore a pin created for what would have been her son's 22nd birthday.

"He's been forgotten. I guess that's what happens over time," she said. "But not to us."

She added that his 4-year-old son is growing up without a father.

"We love and miss our son very much, and I'm begging someone to come forward," Butterworth said. "I don't know how someone could live with that kind of guilt."

There is a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information can call the Sheriff's Office 24-hour hot line at (510) 667-7721 or lead Detective Pete Norton at (510) 667-3666. 












Governor's Office Offers Rewards In Three Bay Area Murder Cases

POSTED: 8:20 pm PST December 27, 2007

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday offered rewards in connection with three unsolved Bay Area murder cases.

The rewards are offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or person responsible for the murder.

In connection with the
Feb. 3, 2004, murder of Mark Espinal, 19, Schwarzenegger's office is offering a $50,000 reward. Espinal was shot to death outside his home in unincorporated San Leandro.

In connection with the June 20 murder this year of Angelo Hurst, 19, Schwarzenegger's office is offering a $25,000 reward.
Hurst was killed in a drive-by shooting in Vacaville and authorities have identified his alleged killer as Joseph Stanley Duran, III. Duran is currently at-large and his whereabouts unknown.

In connection with the
Jan. 30, 2006, murder of Jerrell Moore, 16, Schwarzenegger's office is offering a $50,000 reward. Moore was shot to death in Richmond.

A total of 221 rewards have been offered since the Governor's Reward Program was established in 1967 and 19 of them have been paid, according to Schwarzenegger's office.
Copyright 2007 by and
Bay City News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 







Reward offered in Ashland man's death
19-year-old gunned down in 2004
By Jason Sweeney, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 12/28/2007 07:59:10 AM PST

ASHLAND — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a
$50,000 reward Thursday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting 19-year-old Mark Espinal to death on Feb. 3, 2004, outside his Ashland home.

While Espinal's case went cold long ago, police believe witnesses have information that could lead to an arrest.

Espinal died in his driveway shortly after
midnight after being shot several times, The Daily Review reported in 2004.

He had been dropped off by four friends at his home on the 1500 block of
167th Avenue when two men walking on the sidewalk confronted him. An argument broke out, and one man drew a handgun and fired several shots at Espinal. The assailant and his companion then ran away.

Espinal was pronounced dead a short time later in front of the home where he had lived with his mother, sister and stepfather.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office described thegunman as African-American with a dark complexion, about 18 to 20 years old, 6 feet 1 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall, and weighing about 130 to 150 pounds, with a slender build. His companion was described as African American with a medium complexion and black hair, about 18 to 20 years old, and 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall.

Espinal was a graduate of
Royal Sunset High School and had been living with his family while working a night shift loading UPS trucks in Oakland. He had a 1-year-old son with a woman he was not involved

with at the time of his death.
The Review reported that Espinal had pleaded not guilty to felony possession of marijuana in January 2003 and had a court appearance scheduled the week he was killed.

Since his death, his mother, Randi Butterworth, has been active in keeping the investigation in the public eye. She has circulated fliers, offered rewards, started a Web site and had a billboard put up in
Ashland last year asking for information on the case.

Butterworth has moved away from
Ashland and could not be reached for comment for this story.

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern requested the governor's reward for information on the Espinal case.

One of the requirements before a governor's award is issued is that the victim's family supports the reward. Also, investigators must have pursued all leads and believe that a reward will help their efforts. A chief of a law enforcement agency must then write to the governor asking that a reward be offered.

According to the governor's office, 221 governor's rewards have been offered in
California since 1967 and 19 have been paid.

Four other rewards were offered Thursday for homicide cold cases in
Richmond, Vacaville, Sacramento and Pomona.

Anyone with information on the Espinal case can call Sgt. Scott Dudek at 510-667-7478 or call the Alameda County Sheriff's Office 24-hour phone line at 510-667-7721.








Ashland mother still seeking justice for slain son
By Jason Sweeney, STAFF WRITER
Article Created:
02/03/2008 02:38:02 AM PST

ASHLAND -- A mother's pain lasts a lifetime when her child is murdered.
Randi Butterworth said she will never stop suffering from the slaying of her son, Mark Espinal, who was gunned down in her driveway four years ago today.

Butterworth said she will not let go and will continue to seek justice for her son. She has put up banners, billboards and a Web site that display her son's picture and information about the case. She has released fliers. Last month, she secured a $50,000 governor's reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her son's killer. On top of that, she has secured an additional $20,000 in reward money.

What is particularly frustrating for Butterworth and for investigators is that there were multiple witnesses to the homicide who have not been helpful in the investigation.

``It's hard to imagine it's been four years and no one has come forward yet,'' Butterworth said. ``I have to keep out there, pounding the pavement to get my child justice. The community has to know that I'm here and
I'm not giving up. I know somebody knows. My son's life meant the world to me. It will always mean the world to me. The people who did this need to get off the streets so they never have the opportunity to do this to someone else's child.''

At the time of his death, Espinal was 19 years old and living in
Ashland with his mother, stepfather and teenage sister. He was working for UPS.

He had a son who was a year old, but who was living with the woman Espinal was no longer seeing.

Just a few minutes into the morning of
Feb. 3, 2004, Espinal was in a car with four people who apparently were friends and acquaintances whom Espinal had met in the previous months and as recently as that night.

They dropped Espinal off at the house in the 1500 block of
167th Avenue where he lived. He had arrived home two hours before his work shift was to start.

As Espinal got out of the car, two men walking on the sidewalk confronted him. They argued with him, and Espinal apparently scuffled with one of them.

One of the men pulled out a handgun and then shot Espinal multiple times, execution-style. He died in the driveway.

``According to the witnesses, the two suspects were known marijuana dealers in the area,'' said Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Dudek, the supervisor of the investigation. ``The two guys were known to frequent the area.''

Sheriff's deputies have identified two possible suspects. One of them has left
California and was interviewed out of state but denied knowing about the slaying, Dudek said. The second possible suspect remains in the area but has refused to talk with authorities, he said.

``When this first came out, we thought, `How hard could this be?''' Dudek said. ``Mark gets executed right there in his driveway, and four witnesses were standing there when it happened. They knew the guy. But they clammed up. We have no evidence.''

Dudek said there was only one shooter. ``The other guy is a potential witness, but by him not coming forward we have to treat him as a suspect because we don't know if he conspired in this thing.''

Dudek said the best possibility for an arrest is for one of the witnesses to come forward.

When asked if an anti-snitch culture could be a reason for no one coming forward, Dudek said, ``One hundred percent. They would much rather keep quiet than see justice for Mark.''

Butterworth said she and her family plan to release balloons today to commemorate her son.

``I love him so much,'' she said. ``He had so many dreams. My God, I'm supposed to die before my child. I want to know what happened. I want to know the reason why.'

Anyone with additional information can call Sgt. Scott Dudek at 510-667-7478.



Sheriff's investigators hope decks of cards will help solve cold cases
By Sophia Kazmi and Jason Sweeney
Valley Times
Posted: 12/09/2008 05:36:21 PM PST
Updated: 12/10/2008 06:25:53 AM PST


Click photo to enlarge

Cold case playing cards featuring 13 prominent unsolved cases have are released by the Alameda...
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• Slide show: Thirteen cards in the deck
DUBLIN — Alameda County Sheriff's investigators are hoping an activity that helps kill time in jail will help bring killers to justice.
On Tuesday, the agency announced that it will distribute new playing cards to inmates at the county's two jails. But not just any old cards — these feature information about 13 unsolved crimes. Officials say they hope the victims' pictures and information will jog inmates' memories and generate new leads in the cases, said Sgt. Scott Dudek, who heads the Sheriff's Office cold case unit.
Each card bears the photo of a victim, a case summary and a number where people can leave information. There are four sets of each case in every deck.
About 30 relatives of
the victims were at Santa Rita Jail in
Dublin for the announcement Tuesday.
"This is our way of telling the public that these cases have not been forgotten," Sheriff Greg Ahern told the attendees.
Dudek said his cold case unit is working on 70 cases.
"We picked the 13 cases we felt — based on previous witnesses' statements, DNA evidence present in some of them and other leads — that have the greatest possibility of solvability," Dudek said.
Dudek said inmates who see or play with the cards may come forward with information about the cases to "do the right thing," or perhaps to negotiate lighter sentences, or for rewards of $5,000 to $150,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
The cases include the killing of Jenny Lin, a 14-year-old
Castro Valley girl found dead in her home in 1994; the 1989 disappearance of 13-year-old Ilene Misheloff in Dublin; and the shooting death of Mark Espinal, 19, in front of his home in unincorporated San Leandro in 2004. The oldest case in the deck is that of Gladys Fielding, 65, who was found dead in a pool of blood at her Castro Valley home on May 3, 1978. The most recent is that of Gary Jones, 37, who was shot and killed on June 28, 2007, at the ABE gas station on Mission and Lewelling boulevards in Ashland.
The Sheriff's Office has 2,300 decks that will be distributed at Santa Rita and Glenn Dyer jails. An additional 500 decks will be distributed at bars and other places where people play cards. No taxpayer money was used for this project, Dudek said. The cards for the inmates were paid for with money the jail receives from inmate commissary purchases. General public decks were paid for by the Jenny Lin Foundation.
Dudek said the family of Dana Ramm, 20, who was found strangled to death on
Andrade Road in Sunol on Dec. 29, 1986, approached the cold case unit about the playing cards after hearing that other agencies around the country have started similar programs. Dudek said he thought it was a great way to reach a population that may have information or know people with information about serious crimes.
"We have 4,419 inmates assigned in the (
Alameda County) jail system — that includes both state and federal inmates," he said. "The potential for information to go beyond Alameda County is huge."
On Tuesday, Sheriff's deputies led members of the media into a maximum-security area at Santa Rita, where inmates were playing with the new decks. Inmate Essley Green, 44, who said he was serving 15 years for robbery, said the cards were "entertaining" but that the possibility of an inmate providing information on any of the cases is "slim to none. ... They know I'm not saying anything that's going to get me killed," he said.
But family members of the victims were more hopeful.
"The potential payoff is very large. It certainly seems worth it," said
Dublin resident Mike Misheloff, the father of Ilene Misheloff. "We've never given up hope — my wife and I and our family."
Randi Butterworth, the mother of Mark Espinal, said, "This is what I'm holding onto — a playing card in a deck of cards. It's the only thing I have now."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began its playing card program in 2005 at the
Polk County jail, said Kristen Perezluha, agency spokeswoman. The program was well received and was implemented statewide.
Since then, three more sets of cards have been made and two cold case homicides have been solved based on information received from inmates who saw the cards.
San Diego County started a similar program last year, said San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy Adriana Uribe. Decks are sold for a $1.25 each and are the only cards the 5,000 inmates can buy at the county's seven jails. About half of the 10,000 decks San Diego County has ordered have sold.
Reach Sophia Kazmi at or 925-847-2122. Reach Jason Sweeney at or 510-293-2469.

No arrests five years after Ashland resident Mark Espinal was killed

By Jason Sweeney
The Daily Review

Posted: 02/02/2009 05:13:13 PM PST

ASHLAND — It's been five years to the day since Randi Butterworth lost her son.

What is particularly galling to her is that no arrests have been made, even though several people witnessed the events that led to her son's death.

"I just don't understand how five years have passed and there's nothing," she said. "I'm hoping someone will come forward. That's the only thing I have.

"If the killers are found, I can move on and not think about them still being out there. I can't think of my son in good ways because I keep thinking about what they did to him."

Mark Anthony Espinal was 19 years old when he was fatally shot in his driveway in unincorporated Ashland.

Since the shooting, Butterworth has had billboards put up requesting more information in the case. She has established a Web site and distributed fliers. Sketches of the suspects were released.

There is $70,000 in reward money — $50,000 from the governor's office and $20,000 that Butterworth raised herself — still available for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Espinal's killer.

Recently, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office produced decks of playing cards featuring information on local cold cases, including Espinal's, that are used by inmates at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Still, no witnesses have come forward.

Alameda County Sheriff's Detective Ed Chicoine said he talks to Butterworth every week or two. "We're pretty much

where we were a while back," he said. "The cards didn't give us anything new. There are five other people that are alive right now that were there. I'm convinced that they know who it is, but are afraid to come forward. It would be huge if the witnesses started doing the right thing. All it takes is one to come forward."

Five years ago, Espinal was working for UPS while living in Ashland 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.

Early in 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 on the 1500 block of 167th Avenue. He had arrived home two hours before his work shift was to start.

As Espinal got out of the car, two men walking on the sidewalk confronted him. They argued and Espinal apparently scuffled with one of them. One of the men pulled out a handgun and then shot Espinal multiple times.

Police believe the two assailants were known marijuana dealers in the area. But the people in the car with Espinal before his death have not been cooperative with investigators, and with no hard evidence to go on, no arrests have been made.

"How could they leave my son in the driveway to die?" Butterworth asked. "If I could have just one person help, that would mean everything to me."

Reach Jason Sweeney at 510-293-2469 or


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