Phoenix, Arizona - Attorney General Tom Horne issued the following statement upon the execution of convicted murderer Samuel Villegas Lopez.
“Almost 26 years later, justice has been served for the family of Essie Holmes.
“Lopez entered the apartment of Estefana Holmes on October 29, 1986 where he raped and murdered her, stabbing her 23 times and slitting her throat. Essie Holmes clearly tried to defend herself. Her apartment revealed evidence of a “terrible and prolonged struggle,” with displaced furnishings and blood in every room. Lopez blindfolded her with her pajama pants and shoved a scarf down her throat. He stabbed her in the head, face, breast, and upper chest. Lopez left his fingerprints in the apartment, and blood and seminal fluid found at the scene linked him to the crime.
“The judge who sentenced Lopez to death found that the crime was especially heinous, cruel and depraved and among the worst he had ever seen.
“Now that Samuel Villegas Lopez has paid the penalty for his terrible crime, it is my hope that his victims and their families will find some peace that justice has been carried out. We will continue to work in future cases to reduce the inordinate delays between verdict and victims’ families seeing justice done.”
The execution began at 10:08 this morning and the time of death was 10:37 a.m.