Though fingerprint and DNA evidence doesn't link him to the scene, prosecutors asked a jury to convict Sam Lopez for the murder of his former girlfriend in closing arguments over the 21-year-old alleged killing.
Evidence links his cousin to Cathy Torrez's car, where her body was found after she went missing in 1994. Prosecutors said Lopez didn't help chip in on the huge search for Torrez after she disappeared, and argued, "If you help, you're on the hook" as the case drew to a close on Wednesday.
A co-worker testified that she saw Torrez, a student at Cal State Fullerton, drive to meet Lopez before she went missing. She was found a week later in her trunk, stabbed dozens of times. Prosecutors said she
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Lopez and his cousin, Xavier, both 35, were arrested in 2007 and charged with murder. Experts testified they found fingerprints and DNA from Xavier around the car, but prosecutors say Lopez asked his cousin to help kill Torrez.
"The person Cathy Torrez was about to see right before she was butchered is sitting right there," said prosecutor Matt Murphy, pointing at Lopez. Xavier's trial has not been held yet.
Murphy told jurors Sam Lopez's story changed when he was first questioned about the slaying.
But Lopez's attorney questioned whether he was smart enough to outsmart the Placentia Police Department.
"He's such a brain that he figured out how he could get away with this and tell everyone what to say?" said attorney Lew Rosenblum.