A Scotts Bluff County District Court jury deliberated for three hours Thursday before finding 65 year old Lucio Munoz of Scottsbluff, guilty of first degree murder of then girlfriend Melissa May on New Year’s Eve of last year at the R.C. Scot Apartments in Scottsbluff.
Munoz was also found guilty of use of a dangerous weapon to commit a felony. The verdict came in shortly after 6:30 p.m.
County attorney Dave Eubanks told the jury the evidence clearly “excluded everyone but the defendant”. Eubanks emphasized the victim was found stabbed multiple times in Munoz’ apartment, he lied to Police about her leaving the apartment, left the area quickly after the slaying, and made statements to his son,brother, and Police that amounted to a confession.
Public defender Bernie Straetker argued for nothing more that voluntary manslaughter, claiming the slaying could have happened in a dispute because the defendant thought the victim was cheating on him.
Sentencing by Judge Leo Dobrovolny is scheduled for January 4th at 8 a.m. The state said the case did not qualify for the death penalty, so life in prison is the maximum sentence possible.