Man found guilty in 2014 murder of man beaten, strangled, dismembered

Jose Luis Menchaca's body parts burned on barbecue grill

SAN ANTONIO – A jury deliberated for just over two hours Tuesday before it found Daniel Lopez, 29, guilty of murder in the death of Jose Luis Manchaca.

Menchaca, 35, was beaten with baseball bats, strangled, dismembered and his arms and legs were partially burned on a backyard barbecue grill Sept. 29, 2014, witnesses testified.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Josh Somer told the jury that “Daniel Lopez orchestrated a plan to exact a perverted form of vigilante justice.” He said the murder was in retaliation for an earlier incident in which Menchaca accused of stabbing Lopez in the back.

During the trial, witnesses described how Menchaca was lured to a home on Hillwood Street, where the attack occurred.

During closing arguments, Lopez’s attorney, J. Charles Bunk, challenged the credibility of the state’s witnesses.

“The stories are so different. They’re lost in their cloud of dust," he said. “There is no evidence to convict him of this murder."

Prosecutors agreed some of their witnesses were “of questionable character,” but insisted they were telling the truth.

Lopez will be sentenced by Judge Ron Rangel at a later date after a pre-sentencing investigation. He is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Lopez's girlfriend has pleaded guilty in the murder and is awaiting sentencing. A co-defendant, Gabriel Moreno, has also been charged in the murder and is currently jailed, awaiting trial.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.