‘Vigilante’ killer strangles, dismembers victim before cooking body parts on backyard grill

It took just over two hours Tuesday for a jury to find 29-year-old Daniel Lopez guilty of murder in the gruesome slaying of Jose Luis Menchaca.

On September 29, 2014, Menchaca, 35, was lured into a home on Hillwood Street in San Antonio, before being attacked with baseball bats, strangled and dismembered. Witnesses on the stand said the man’s arms and legs were partially cooked on a backyard barbecue grill in order to hide evidence, News4SA reports.

Lopez is one of three defendants charged with killing the man. The convicted killer and his girlfriend, Candie Dominguez, 38, are accused of persuading the victim to come to their home in order to kill him.

Dominguez pleaded guilty to the crime and is currently awaiting sentencing, while a co-defendant, Gabriel Moreno, is awaiting trial.

Prosecutor Josh Somer told the jury in closing arguments that “Daniel Lopez orchestrated a plan to exact a perverted form of vigilante justice,” adding that the murder was an act of retaliation after Menchaca said he was previously stabbed by Lopez in the back in a drug deal gone bad, according to KSAT.

An attorney for Lopez, Charles Bunk, asked the jury to take a look at the credibility of the state’s witnesses, arguing that their “stories are so different.”

“They’re lost in a cloud of dust, there is no evidence to convict him of these murders,” he said, according to the media outlet. However, though prosecutors admitted some witnesses were “of questionable character,” they insisted to jurors that they were indeed being honest…and it didn’t take long for jurors to agree.

Lopez is facing life in prison for the unspeakable crime, and will be sentenced at a later date after a pre-trial investigation is conducted.

[Feature photo: Bexar County Sheriff’s Office]