San Antonio woman dismembers cousin and cooks his severed limbs in a barbecue over botched drug deal
39-year-old Candie Dominguez was sentenced to the maximum possible time behind bars for her role in the murder and will become eligible for parole after serving 15 years
A San Antonio woman who admitted to participating in the murder of her cousin by severing his limbs has been sentenced to 30 years behind bars by a judge. The 39-year-old woman, Candie Dominguez, was involved in the brutal September 2014 murder of her cousin Jose Luis Menchaca who was severely beaten and then dismembered. His charred remains were found by investigators in a barbecue pit.
Also found guilty in the murder was 32-year-old Daniel Moreno Lopez, her boyfriend at the time. Lopez was convicted by a jury last June and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. A third person involved in the killing, Lopez's cousin Gabriel Moreno, was acquitted during a retrial in December after a judge declared the first to be a mistrial because the jury could not come to a decision.
According to the Daily Mail, the trio is said to have attacked and killed the 35-year-old Menchaca inside Dominguez's home in the 400 block of Hillwood Drive on the North Side in San Antonio after a drug deal between them went south. Menchaca's girlfriend, 29-year-old Sylvia Flores, was held against her will for days after the killing as well.
Menchaca was beaten with baseball bats, suffocated, and then had his limbs severed by Dominguez. After he was killed, his remains were burned in a barbecue pit in Dominguez's backyard, with some of the details so graphic, his mother had to be taken out of the courtroom on a stretcher.
Witness Dennis Austin looked "physically ill" as he described to the jury how what he saw at the residence on that day was like a "scene from a horror movie", reported My San Antonio. Austin, who is engaged to a cousin of Lopez and Moreno, went to the residence with his fiancé and said he saw "blood on the walls, on the couch, on the floor, the victim bound at his hands and feet, and his mouth taped up," adding that Menchaca was "bleeding from his cheeks" and that "there was blood everywhere on him."
Austin then detailed how Moreno and Lopez attempted to suffocate Menchaca with a pillow and plastic bag while the women tried to clean the blood off the walls, couch, and floor. He said Menchaca was still alive when they moved him to the garage and that the 35-year-old was begging for his life. "Daniel said, 'No, you (expletive) with the wrong person. You better pray to God — I’m your God, I’m going to decide whether you live or die,'" he explained.
Flores would go on to testify at the trials of both Lopez and Moreno. Lopez was convicted of the murder in June 2018 and had to reportedly be removed from the courtroom following an angry outburst after the verdict.
He was made eligible to apply for parole after serving 30 years of his sentence. Moreno's February 2018 trial ended in a mistrial because of a jury deadlock, with a retrial in December acquitting him of his charges.
Dominguez was the last of the trio remaining to be sentenced. She said she felt no remorse in the killing. "At this time I do not feel remorse, I feel nothing but anger," she told the court. "I’m sorry he lost his life, yes, but we cannot change things. I accept things for what they are and look forward," adding, "The way I grew up, the way my life was, I didn’t show emotion. I never have. With everything I have gone through, emotions are useless."
Defense attorney Tony Jiminez asked Judge Ron Rangel for leniency, putting down the lack of remorse to a childhood of sexual assault and multiple abusive relationships as an adult. Dominguez's three daughters testified as well and said their mom was their "best friend" until she got into drugs.
However, prosecutor Jessica Schultz's insistence that the 39-year-old was "at least a sociopath" and deserved no less than the maximum sentence of 30 years would ultimately hold more sway. Rangel sentenced Dominguez to the maximum 30 years, of which she will have to serve 15 before becoming eligible for parole.