RIVERSIDE – A 23-year-old reputed gang member accused of stabbing a rival outside a Riverside liquor store pleaded not guilty today to first- degree murder and other charges.
Anthony Jacob Lopez is also charged with assault resulting in death, a special circumstance allegation of killing for the benefit of a street gang, and sentence-enhancing gang and great bodily injury allegations in the Feb. 10 death of Paul Mungia, 27.
Lopez appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan, who scheduled a March 28 felony settlement conference and ordered him to remain in custody without bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to authorities, Mungia was outside the Village Liquor Store near the intersection of Arlington and Jones avenues around 5:20 p.m. when he was confronted by Lopez, who is affiliated with a rival gang. Words were exchanged, leading to blows, at which point the defendant allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed Mungia in the upper body.
Mungia made it to his vehicle and managed to drive more than four miles to the intersection of La Sierra and Magnolia avenues, where he pulled into a restaurant parking lot and flagged down a passing patrol officer, according to police. He died at Riverside Community Hospital a short time later.
Over the next 10 days, investigators tracked down leads that culminated in Lopez’s arrest at a residence in the 1400 block of Old Hamner Road in Norco.
According to court records, the defendant has prior felony convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and spousal abuse.