A Texas man was convicted of murder Tuesday in the gruesome beating death of a man whose limbs were burned on a barbecue pit.
It took a San Antonio jury with the 379th state District Court about three hours to reach a verdict against Daniel Moreno Lopez, 32, in the gruesome 2014 retaliation murder of 35-year-old Jose Luis Menchaca.
Lopez’s own attorney says he was shocked by the case.
“This is by far the most gruesome case I have ever had,” Lopez’s attorney, J. Charles Bunk, tells PEOPLE. “It is right out of a horror movie.”
However, Bunk insists his client “was not the guy who did all this,” adding, “based on the testimony we don’t know who killed [Menchaca].”
Prosecutors allege that Lopez killed Menchaca on Sept. 30, 2014 two days after Menchaca stabbed Lopez in the back during a drug deal gone bad.
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Prosecutors further contended that after Lopez was stabbed and briefly hospitalized he plotted Menchaca’s demise and enlisted his 38-year-old girlfriend Candie Dominguez and another woman in his plan.
According to court testimony, the two women allegedly lured Menchaca to Dominguez’s San Antonio home where Lopez and his cousin Gabriel Moreno were waiting. The two men allegedly pummeled Menchaca from behind with two aluminum baseball bats in a bedroom and then dragged him to a detached garage and suffocated him with a plastic bag over his head.
Witness Dennis Austin testified during Lopez’s trial that Menchaca begged for his life and desperately pleaded to God.
“I am your God now!,” Lopez allegedly responded, the San Antonio Express-News reported. “You better start praying.”
Austin testified that Menchaca pleaded for his life to which Lopez allegedly responded: “No, you’re gonna die.”
Austin told the jury during Lopez’s cousin ‘s murder trial in March, that he saw Menchaca’s torso inside a blue plastic tub. His head was wrapped in a plastic bag.
“We saw the torso, head still attached, but detached, like a bobblehead,” he said, according to Fox News. “I will never forget that smell. It smelled worse than a decayed animal.”
Bunk says that after the body was dismembered it was moved to another location, dug up and then brought back to Dominguez’s house.
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Some of Menchaca’s beaten and decapitated remains were later found October 6, 2014 in a plastic bin. Pieces of his arms and legs were discovered in a barbecue pit.
Bunk says a witness testified she saw his client “tending to the barbecue pit where the remains were found. She saw what she thought was a knee.”
“A kneecap, bones and some fingers were found in the barbecue pit,” says Bunk.
Lopez’s cousin Moreno, who was also charged with murder, went on trial in March but it ended in a mistrial. He is awaiting a new trial. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Dominguez, also charged with murder, is awaiting sentencing. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.