The Murder of Raymond “RJ” Pantoja

By Louie Fecou
Published: August 1, 2023
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The Murder of Raymond "RJ" Pantoja

The Murder of Raymond “RJ” Pantoja — we discuss the 2023 Hulu true crime series Mother Undercover which contains details readers may find disturbing.

The four-part documentary series from Hulu, Mother Undercover, is a shocking and often chilling exploration of ordinary women who go to extraordinary lengths when they become involved in horrific events that transform their lives.

The subject matter includes murder, kidnapping, and judicial corruption, explaining the events that lead up to the four mothers going to any lengths to protect their children. In episode one of the series, the show covers the disturbing story of Lisa Espinosa and her 26-year-old son Raymond Pantoja.

Raymond stepped into a situation that was happening on the street outside a nightclub in Philadelphia, but tragically the situation resulted in Raymond being shot and killed. This companion piece will explore some of the details of the story and answer some of the questions that surround the shocking story of the murder of Raymond “RJ” Pantoja.

Who is Raymond “RJ” Pantoja?

Raymond was the twenty-six-year-old son of Lisa Espinosa. Raymond was perhaps better known as “RJ” or his rap name Hommi and was a talented performer who would use his music as a way to address issues such as violence and drugs.

At the time of the horrific crime, Raymond had not long become a father, and heartbreakingly his daughter Johanna would now be forced to grow up without her dad. Although Raymond also had a troubled past that involved crime, he was at a point where he had devoted himself to turning his life around.

How did Raymond Pantoja die, and who killed him?

Raymond Pantoja would become involved in a dispute that was occurring in the street outside a nightclub in Kensington in 2016. Two groups were involved in the aggressive and violent confrontation, and Raymond had approached the groups in an effort to try and dilute the dispute. In a single moment of horror, an unknown assailant would approach him and shoot Raymond at close range in the chest.

He would be taken to Temple University Hospital, where attempts to save his life would fail. Witnesses to the crime were too scared to come forward, and the authorities could not find anyone willing to testify against the shooter.

This would lead to Raymond’s mother taking the situation into her own hands and tirelessly devoting herself to finding information about her son’s murderer. Despite facing many dead ends, Lisa would not give up, and the documentary explores and explains her drive to find justice.

Eventually, after six months of trying to get a breakthrough, a witness would finally step up, and this would lead to the arrest of Giovanny Perales. At the time, the 30-year-old drug dealer was charged with murder and related offenses.

Later as events unfolded, it would appear that the initial incident was triggered by a minor altercation that escalated out of control.

Where is Giovanny Perales now?

Perales was arrested and found to be in possession of drugs and weapons. He would eventually strike a plea deal and be charged with third-degree murder.

His sentence would be handed down, fourteen to twenty-eight years in jail, and five more years of probation.

He is currently serving his sentence and will be eligible for parole in 2030.

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