A former Modesto man who murdered a 20-year-old who asked him to buy beer for him was denied parole this week, according to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
Manuel Cosio Lopez, 50, was found unsuitable for parole at a hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Mangar appeared at the hearing and argued for continued confinement based on the callousness of the murder, Lopez’s disciplinary problems while in prison and the unreasonable risk to public safety should he be paroled. The commissioners agreed, finding that Lopez continues to pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society and denied parole for three years.
In December 1993, Lopez was at a convenience store near West Orangeburg Avenue when he was approached by Jesse Robles, a 20-year-old student who asked him to purchase beer.
Lopez agreed but when he came out of the store an argument ensued and Lopez drove off with the beer. After traveling a short distance, Lopez made a u-turn, drove back to the store, then fired one round from a pistol, striking Robles in the abdomen. He died at the scene.
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Lopez fled the area but was captured one week later when he crashed a stolen pickup in Turlock. He was in possession of another handgun and had been out on bail for a separate possession of methamphetamine case when he committed these offenses. While awaiting his jury trials, Lopez was caught with a weapon while in the county jail.
After being convicted at a jury trial of second-degree murder, vehicle theft, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a weapon, Lopez was sentenced to 23 years to life in state prison.
At the hearing Mangar also spoke of how Lopez rose to the level of a squad leader of the Northern Structure Prison Gang and received rules violations for assaults on other inmates which caused serious bodily injury, manufacturing alcohol, and disobeying the prison guards.
Lopez had previously been denied parole three times with the most recent denial last year. He will be scheduled for another hearing in 2020, although that hearing may be advanced to as early as next year based on recent changes in the law.