Norma Lopez murder case: Prosecutors say suspect was predator who was 'watching, waiting and lusting'
Report by KABC 7: Final arguments in the monthlong capital murder trial in the 2010 slaying of 17-year-old Norma Lopez came to an end on Monday.
The man accused in the teen's death is Jesse Torres. The prosecution described Torres as a predator who was "watching, waiting and lusting" after Lopez as she walked to and from summer school classes to a friend's home.
The Riverside County District Attorney's office relied heavily on DNA evidence collected from a torn earring Lopez had been wearing along with samples taken from her purse, jeans and underwear.
Deputy District Attorney Michale Kersse told jurors that DNA evidence led to Torres.
The defense called the DNA evidence flawed, adding that one process used to test the DNA evidence collected was "junk science."
Defense attorney John Dorr told jurors that at the time, the murder case was the biggest Riverside County had ever seen and that law enforcement was under pressure to solve the case.
Dorr called Torres a convenient suspect because he was one of 24 profiles that matched the partial DNA evidence, and he lived in the neighborhood where Lopez went missing.
He also told jurors the most important part of the case were the three eyewitnesses who reported seeing a green SUV tearing out of the dirt field Lopez would have been walking through at the same time. Dorr said when it was no longer convenient, investigator disregarded that portion of their investigation. Torres drove a brown Nissan Xterra.
During the prosecution's rebuttal of the defense's closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beechum delivered a scathing response calling out the number of coincidences. He then directed his final remarks by turning to Torres and stating, "you left her like trash under that tree... we know you are guilty."
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