|For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF0170
November 14, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
BOYFRIEND FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING GIRLFRIEND AND SETTING BODY ON FIRE
TO DESTROY EVIDENCE
SANTA ANA – A boyfriend faces trial on Monday for murdering his girlfriend and attempting to destroy her corpse by setting it on fire in a backyard metal trashcan. Jose Sauceda-Contreras, 30, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Nov. 17, 2008, at 9:15 a.m., in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On Jan. 10, 2007, Sauceda-Contreras is accused of suffocating and murdering his girlfriend, 35-year-old Martha Mendoza. At approximately 11:30 a.m., Sauceda-Contreras is accused of placing Mendoza’s body in a metal trash can in his backyard, pouring gasoline over the victim, and lighting the body on fire to destroy the evidence of his crime.
A neighbor called 9-1-1 after smelling an unusual burning odor and seeing Sauceda-Contreras over his backyard fence. When the Anaheim Fire Department arrived, Sauceda-Contreras is accused of insisting that the firefighters leave and physically resisting as they attempted to enter Sauceda-Contreras’ backyard to search for the origins and source of the fire. Firefighters discovered the victim’s body in the trashcan and contacted the Anaheim Police Department.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.