When drug deals go wrong they can go very wrong indeed. Where large amounts of money or merchandise are at stake, people will often do things they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing ever in their lives.
When a violent altercation went down on Hillwood Drive, screaming and shouting turned into something a lot worse and far more sinister. But when it was all over and the dust had settled, pure shock set in when police heard how all that shouting ended…
Jose and Daniel were old friends. They may not have been best buddies and didn’t see each other very often but they were very well acquainted nonetheless. The two men had done some business together before, and while it was anything but above board, it was highly lucrative.
Daniel and Jose had a great little sideline going on. One of the men had come into some overpriced, top-shelf cosmetics including expensive makeup and body creams. At the same time, the other man had drugs and a lot of them. It was a natural transaction and one that was making both of these guys quite rich…
A Big Deal
On this particular night, both Daniel and Jose had arranged to meet in order to do another one of their lucrative deals. It was win-win for everyone concerned and there should have been no need at all for any sort of altercation, let alone violence. However, these guys were gangster types and even had the tattoos to prove it.
These ex-prison chaps all have nicknames which they call each other on a regular basis. Jose was fondly known as “Pee Wee” for reasons we’d rather not go into; while Daniel was known as Guero by his friends. But even with the familiarity that nicknames can bring, these men were headed for a fight, and it was going to be a big one…
Stab In The Back
It was a September evening much like any other when the men arranged to meet in order to do a “drugs for makeup” exchange. For whatever reason though, on that fateful night, Jose stabbed Daniel in the back when he wasn’t looking, and that ended him up in the hospital fighting for his life.
No one is clear as to why Daniel was stabbed that night, as his old “friend” tried to take his life. The men were known to be volatile as befits their overall image, from immigrant families, and would fly off the handle at the drop of a hat and for no good reason. However, Daniel had been stabbed and that was obviously a big deal…
Just a day after Daniel came out of hospital, having made a good recovery, he put his revenge plan into action. He wasn’t about to let Jose get away with stabbing him in the back like that and revenge would be swift and sweet. Daniel employed his then-girlfriend Sabrina to help lure Jose to a home in Hillwood Drive and his cousin was also present there.
Jose had no idea that Daniel was there lying in wait for him. Had he known, he most likely wouldn’t have shown up that night. While he beat Jose, he knew he was in big trouble, and no one even knew where he was. By this stage, the man was being beaten relentlessly with baseball bats and was about to lose consciousness…
This slide is not for the faint of heart. Not satisfied with just administering a beating to the man, Daniel went ahead and tortured him. After he had done so, according to court records, he went ahead and suffocated the man with a plastic bag, and then cut his limbs off, cooking them on a grill in the backyard.
For whatever reason, Daniel decided not to kill Jose’s girlfriend Sabrina, and her life was spared. However, she had been stripped naked, bound by her hands and feet and kept captive for days in a shower room near where her boyfriend was killed. Luckily for her, she was not killed during the revenge attack…
Sabrina was sure she would be killed as she had witnessed the brutal slaying of her boyfriend. She knew she had no chance of escape at the time, “I couldn’t. There was always someone watching me,” she said in court, adding, “He (Daniel) told me if I acted stupid, ‘you know what you’re going to get.'”
Sabrina was understandably scared to death by the situation she found herself in. “I saw what he was capable of. I didn’t want to test him. I didn’t want to end up like Pee Wee,” she said. But to make matters worse, the state had Sabrina in custody for six months, suspecting she had a hand in the murder. “Are you telling me the state of Texas has had you locked up for six months for nothing,” defense attorney J. Charles Bunk asked her. To which she simply replied, “Yes.”
Victim Of Crime
Bunk went on to ask some more difficult questions, which highlighted that once again, police negligence had delayed and affected this sensitive case, “Did the district attorney ever explain to you that you are a victim of a crime,” Bunk asked Sabrina. She simply stated that she hadn’t wanted to testify as she didn’t want to “be in the same room with that man,” and understandably so.
Taking It Badly
Daniel Lopez knew what he had done to his victim on that night. There should have been no cause for surprise or shock when the verdict was read out. The jury only took 3 hours to deliberate that the man was guilty, but he took that announcement badly; very badly indeed…
Show Of Force
The judge in the case could see the type of man he was dealing with and that probably explains why he ordered 10 Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies to be inside the courtroom when the verdict was read out. It was a good call on behalf of the judge as the accused played up, flailed his arms and resisted arrest.
There’s no question about it, Daniel Lopez is a hateful as well as a vengeful man. Deputies even needed to position themselves between him and his attorney Bunk, as it appeared like he was going to violently attack him at any moment. In the end, it took the combined strength of 8 deputies to finally remove the convicted man from the courthouse, as he yelled abuse at them…
Doing His Job
Bunk did his job as a defense attorney, despite whatever his personal misgivings may have been at the time. During closing arguments, Bunk tried to implicate another person in the murder; Jose’s cousin Candie was also in attendance at the address when the murder took place.
She Did It
According to Bunk, his man was innocent in that he didn’t deliver the final blows which killed the victim. “They want you to assume it had to be this guy,” Bunk said, pointing to his client, then asking, “Why don’t they tell you they know Candie Dominguez did it?”
The prosecutors in the case, Josh Somers and Matthew Ludowig, were not about to take the defense’s allegations lightly, especially in front of the jurors. During closing arguments both men tag-teamed the jury, insisting that Daniel was the main player in arranging the murder, which was clearly a premeditated act. “You don’t get to beat a man within an inch of his life and then say I’m not guilty of murder,” Ludowig told the jury.
“Look at the facts and use your reason and common sense and everyday logic,” Somers said to the jury, “Daniel Lopez is the only person that knew Jose Luis Menchaca and had a motive and reason to murder him.” As a result of the case, Lopez is looking at life in jail for what he did; a verdict which many people have welcomed due to the gruesome nature of this case.