Twenty years after Cathy Torrez was repeatedly stabbed and left to die in the trunk of her car in Placentia, her ex-boyfriend was found guilty Tuesday in her murder.
Samuel Agustin Lopez, 43, was convicted of one felony count of murder and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Torrez, a 20-year-old honors student at Cal State Fullerton, disappeared on the evening of Feb. 12, 1994 after leaving her job at a Sav-On drugstore in Placentia.
She told co-workers that she planned on seeing Samuel Lopez that night, the release stated. Prosecutors told the jury that she and Lopez had a rocky relationship and that she had rejected his proposal of marriage just a week before her murder.
Torrez met up with Lopez and his cousin Xavier Francisco Lopez in the parking lot of a Baskin Robbins and the trio then drove to another location. At some point, prosecutors said Torrez and Samuel Lopez began to argue.
During the confrontation, Samuel Lopez attacked Torrez with a knife, stabbing her repeatedly in the face, head and torso, the release stated.
Samuel Lopez then cut Torrez’s wrists and her throat and locked her in the trunk of her car, according to the DA’s Office.
Torrez’s Toyota Corolla was found a week later in the parking lot of Placentia-Linda Hospital.
Xavier Lopez, 43, of Anaheim, was charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder involving the infliction of torture. Samuel Lopez’s older brother, Armando Antonio Lopez, 46, of Placentia, was also charged with one felony count each of accessory after the fact and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.
Samuel Lopez faced a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on May 1.