Texas Man Found Guilty of Dismembering, Barbecuing Victim

Daniel Moreno Lopez, a 32-year-old Texas man, was found guilty on Thursday of beating a man to death, dismembering him and burning his limbs in a barbecue pit.

CBS News reports the jury took just three hours to reach a verdict.

The crime took place on Sept. 30, 2014. Lopez was involved in a drug deal two days before the incident with the victim, Jose Luis Menchaca, that resulted in Lopez getting stabbed in the back and rushed to the hospital. The prosecution claims Lopez had his girlfriend, Candie Dominguez and another woman lure Menchaca to Dominguez's house. Lopez and his cousin Gabriel Moreno then allegedly attacked Menchaca from behind with aluminum baseball bats. He was then dragged into a garage and had a plastic bag put over his head, where he died.

Dennis Austin, a witness, said during Moreno's trial in March that he found the body inside a blue plastic tub in the garage, with the head slightly disconnected and the limbs gone.

"We saw the torso, head still attached, but detached, like a bobblehead," Austin said in his testimony, according to Fox News. "I will never forget that smell. It smelled worse than a decayed animal."

Bunk, Lopez's attorney, said the body was initially moved and buried after it was dismembered, but was eventually brought back to Dominguez's house.

Sylvia Flores, Menchaca's girlfriend, testified in March that she was bound and held captive inside multiple houses for roughly three days. She managed to escape, but not before seeing some of Menchaca's limbs in the fire pit.

"I saw a leg or arm, a joint," Flores said in her testimony. "He [Lopez] was poking it with a stick."

Bunk confirmed her testimony after the trial was over.

"A kneecap, bones and some fingers were found in the barbecue pit," Bunk said.

Even though Lopez was his client, Bunk couldn't deny the graphic nature of the murder after the trial.

"This is by far the most gruesome case I have ever had," Bunk said in an interview with PEOPLE. "It is right out of a horror movie."

He did however continue to defend Lopez as not being the one who actually killed Menchaca.


"Based on the testimony we don't know who killed [Menchaca]," Bunk said.

Moreno's trial, also for Menchaca's murder, was initially tossed out in March due to a mistrial. Dominguez is reportedly awaiting sentencing for her part in the crime.