The Coast News Group
JinnKid convicted
Social media content creator Ali Abulaban aka "JinnKid" was convicted of first-degree murder for killing his wife and her friend in 2021. Screenshot
CitiesCrimeNewsRegionSan Diego

Content creator ‘JinnKid’ convicted of murdering wife and her friend

SAN DIEGO — A social media personality who fatally shot his wife and another man inside the couple’s East Village apartment was convicted on May 29 of first-degree murder.

Ali Abulaban, 32 – who was known in online circles as a content creator dubbed “JinnKid” on TikTok and other platforms – was found guilty by a downtown San Diego jury of the Oct. 21, 2021, slayings of Ana Abulaban, 28, and Rayburn Cardenas Barron, 29, both of whom were shot on a couch inside the Abulabans’ 35th-floor unit at the Spire San Diego apartments.

Jurors also found true a special-circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders, meaning Abulaban is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 28.

With neither side disputing that Abulaban killed the victims, jurors were instead tasked with deciding whether the killings were intentional and premeditated or committed in the heat of passion.

Prosecutors allege Abulaban killed both victims because he was angered that his wife no longer wanted to remain married to him.

Deputy District Attorney Taren Brast, who described Abulaban as “jealous, controlling, and violent” throughout his relationship with his wife, told jurors that Ana Abulaban made it clear she was through with the marriage following multiple incidents of domestic violence and Abulaban’s sexual encounter with another woman.

Abulaban testified that his wife may have hurled empty threats of divorce out of anger and wasn’t clear whether they might reconcile, but Brast argued Ana’s position was obvious.

“He wouldn’t let her go,” Brast said. “She wanted to be single. She didn’t want to be married to him. She told him that over and over, but he refused to accept it.”

Abulaban’s defense attorney, Jodi Green, argued that on the day of the shooting, months of suspicions about his wife’s infidelity were confirmed upon entering his apartment and seeing Ana cuddling on the couch with Barron.

In that moment, Abulaban was “overcome with what he’s seeing,” and “in a fog,” began firing, Green said.

Abulaban, who spent nearly three full days on the stand, testified that he “snapped” and “couldn’t take the (expletive) betrayal.” He said that the next thing he knew, “I’m shooting and I can’t stop.”

Green argued that though Ana stated many times that she wanted to leave her husband, her actions said otherwise. Ana would repeatedly take him back, giving him “breadcrumbs of hope,” Green said.

The defense attorney argued this behavior qualified as provocation that rose to the level of justifying a voluntary manslaughter conviction, rather than murder.

The defense’s case included a deep dive into Abulaban’s alleged mental health struggles, childhood trauma and escalating cocaine addiction, all of which the defense argued played a role in his mindset both before and during the shooting.

Green said the collective issues mounting with his marriage and his mental health left him “emotionally manipulated, psychologically impaired, and ill-adapted for all of this.”

On the morning of the shooting, Abulaban entered the apartment while Ana was taking their daughter to school. He vandalized the unit, threw away some of his wife’s belongings, then activated an app on his iPad to listen in on what was happening inside the apartment.

Prosecutors argued Abulaban was kicked out of the apartment and accessed the unit with a secretly copied keycard, while Abulaban testified that Ana was aware he had a keycard.

While staying at a nearby hotel, Abulaban heard Ana in the apartment with another man and sped over to the Spire apartments.

Brast argued Abulaban’s goal was always to kill his wife and whoever she was with. Abulaban testified that he intended to confirm that Ana was cheating on him, then was overcome with emotion upon seeing her with Barron and fired his gun on the pair with no control over his faculties.

According to the prosecutor, multiple audio recordings of the shooting capture gunshots firing about one second after Abulaban entered the apartment. Both victims were shot in the head.

After the verdict, Brast said the families of both victims were “very relieved at the outcome. They wanted some sort of closure. Obviously, nothing will bring back Ana or Ray, but having the first-degree murder convictions was huge for them.”

Regarding Abulaban’s testimony, the prosecutor said that when questioned by his attorney he was calm in describing his account of the events, but on cross-examination, “he showed who he really was. Someone who does not respect women and who needs to be controlling and I think that was evident to the jury.”

Leave a Comment