MEDIA ADVISORY – 9th Annual Victims’ Rights Rally Speakers

Date: March 29, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY – 9th Annual Victims’ Rights Rally Speakers

WHO: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

WHAT: Is pleased to announce the speakers for the 9th Annual Victims’ Rights Rally

WHEN: Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. (Reception) and 6:00 p.m. (Rally)

WHERE: County of Orange Hall of Administration, 333 West Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana

SPEAKERS: Tina Mora is the sister of homicide victim Cathy Torrez who was murdered on Feb. 19, 1994. Torrez was stabbed over 70 times and left in the trunk of her abandoned car in Placentia by Samuel and Xavier Lopez. Her case was unsolved for 15 years. Samuel Lopez was found guilty by a jury of murder with a sentencing enhancement for use of a deadly and dangerous weapon and sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison in May 2015. Xavier Lopez pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail.

On the evening of Feb. 12, 1994, Torrez left work and met with her then-boyfriend, Samuel Lopez, in a nearby parking lot. During the course of an argument in the victim’s car, Lopez attacked Torrez with a knife. The victim attempted to flee from the vehicle, but Lopez chased after her and stabbed Torrez repeatedly in the face, head, and torso. The defendant’s cousin, Xavier Lopez, closed the trunk of the victim’s car where Torrez’s body was placed after Samuel Lopez murdered her. A week later, Torrez’s body was found inside the trunk of her abandoned Toyota Corolla in a hospital parking lot. Samuel and Xavier Lopez provided an alibi for each other on the night of the murder and the case went unsolved for over a decade.

In 2007, the OCDA TracKRS Unit and Placentia Police Department began investigating this case when new DNA evidence technology linked Samuel Lopez and Xavier Lopez to the crime. The Cathy Torrez Learning Center in Placentia was named in her honor.

Kelli Peters is a victim of Jill and Kent Easter, who were found guilty of false imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit. On Oct. 17, 2014, Kent Easter was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 100 hours community service. Jill Easter was sentenced on Oct. 30, 2013, to 120 days in jail and 100 hours community service.

In 2010, Peters was a parent volunteer at an elementary school in Irvine, where the defendants’ child was a student. Jill Easter became angry with the victim because she believed Peters was not properly supervising her child. During the early morning hours of Feb. 16, 2011, Kent Easter drove to Peters’ home and placed a bag of controlled substances behind the driver’s seat of her vehicle. Kent Easter called the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and said he was a concerned parent who witnessed an erratic driver park at the elementary school with a bag of drugs behind her driver’s seat. Peters was contacted on the school campus and detained as IPD investigated the case. No evidence was found to support that she was knowingly in possession of the marijuana or prescription pills found in her vehicle.

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