'Person of interest' in stabbing of Nipomo man is charged with murder

jhickey@thetribunenews.comSeptember 18, 2013 

Joseph Adrian Munoz, 36, of Oceano was arrested Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, on suspicion of murder. Original story »

Months after the stabbing death of Nipomo resident Joseph Padilla, a count of murder has been added to the list of charges for a San Luis Obispo County Jail inmate suspected in his death.

Joseph Munoz, 36, of Oceano was already in jail because of a narcotics-related arrest and has been re-booked into jail on one count of murder, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

On the evening of June 21, 25-year-old Padilla received life-threatening injuries during a fight in the 1300 block of 19th Street in Oceano. He later died at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.

The next day, Munoz was identified by authorities as a person of interest in Padilla’s death.

Munoz was spotted by authorities June 23 in Santa Maria, but the female driver of his car fled, leading to a chase that reached speeds of 70 mph through Santa Maria before police eventually pulled over the vehicle and detained Munoz.

“Because Munoz was already in jail, we had time on our side to help with this (homicide) investigation,” Cipolla said.

The case has now been turned over to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation is ongoing, and Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who shares information that assists in the conviction of Munoz by calling 549-STOP.

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