SAN DIEGO — (07-08-21) — Shaun Ward, 42, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to first degree murder in the fatal stabbing of an adult bookstore employee. It is outrageous that it has taken nearly three years for this case to come to an end. Ward was charged in the death of Diane Spagnuolo, 65, whose body was found Oct. 29, 2018 at X-Spot adult bookstore on Midway Drive.

Shaun Ward was told by his counsel that he was facing murder and special-circumstance allegations of murder committed during a robbery and murder by torture, both of which made him eligible for the death penalty.

Diane Spagnuolo (L)X-Spot-adult-bookstore- Shaun Ward (R) 2018

Diane Spagnuolo (L)X-Spot-adult-bookstore- Shaun Ward (R) 2018

There is a statewide moratorium on executions in California for as long as Gov. Gavin Newsom is in office, but California law still allows prosecutors to pursue a death penalty case in certain circumstances.

Back in June of 2019, the District Attorney’s Office said that it would seek Ward’s execution if he was convicted. Because of the plea, Ward is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The hearing is scheduled to take place in front of Superior Court Judge Joan Weber on Aug. 6, 2021.

Former X-Spot adult bookstore employee and victim Diane Spagnuolo had worked at the adult bookstore for more than 24 years when she was killed. She had held a job with the Salvation Army, as a textiles processor and sales clerk for 16 years until 2012. Then, according to her daughter, Spagnuolo, left that job and became an assistant manager of the El Cajon mobile home park where she lived.

On the day after Shaun Ward murdered Diane Spagnuolo, a customer walked into the X-Spot and found her body near the store’s front counter.

Now that Ward has pleaded guilty,  the Spagnuolo family can find closure to their tragic loss.

Article by: Andy Powell, Staff Writer

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