SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A Texas jury convicted a suspect in the slaying of a man who was beaten with baseball bats and dismembered before his amputated and charred limbs were found on a barbecue grill.
Jurors took about three hours to find Daniel Moreno Lopez guilty of murder on Tuesday in the September 2014 killing of 35-year-old Jose Luis Menchaca, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Witnesses testified at trial that the killing was in retaliation for Menchaca stabbing Lopez in the back days earlier over a botched drug deal.
After the verdict was read, Lopez began to flail and was forced from the courtroom by Bexar County sheriff’s deputies.
Lopez is set to be sentenced on July 25, after a presentencing investigation hearing.
Prosecutors allege Lopez and Gabriel Moreno beat Menchaca with baseball bats at a San Antonio home. Candie Dominguez and another woman are accused of luring Menchaca to the home. Moreno and Dominguez are awaiting trial.
One witness testified that Menchaca begged for his life and pleaded for his assailants to stop. After the slaying, part of his body was found in a plastic bin at a home while his amputated arms and legs were located on a backyard grill.
In closing arguments, Lopez’s attorney J. Charles Bunk told the jury that prosecutors did not prove his client killed Menchaca. Accomplices in the slaying, he said, were provided deals for testimony.
Prosecutor Josh Somers told the jury to use their “reason and common sense” and said Lopez had a reason and motive to kill Menchaca.
Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com
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