Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
WOMAN SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS TO LIFE IN
PRISON FOR STABBING AND MURDERING
18-YEAR-OLD MAN IN HUNTINGTON BEACH
HOTEL AFTER CLAIMING TO BE THE DEVIL
WESTMINSTER – A Valencia woman was sentenced today to 16 years to life in prison for murdering an 18-year-old man by stabbing him in the neck at a Huntington Beach hotel. Samantha Elizabeth Rothwell, 21, was found guilty by a jury April 16, 2008, of second degree murder and the sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon was found true.
On Aug. 15, 2006, Rothwell arrived at approximately 10:30 p.m. at the Hotel Huntington Beach to meet a group of friends. The group of 12 was in Huntington Beach celebrating the birthday of one of the friends and planned to go the beach the following day.
As the evening progressed, several people, including Rothwell and 18-year-old Walter Rivas, were standing on the balcony smoking. During the conversation, Rivas told the people on the balcony that the last time he was in Huntington Beach he had “seen God.” Rothwell became angry and responded, “I’m the devil and don’t talk about God or I’ll stab you.” The defendant walked away into the hotel room, took a small pocket knife from her purse, and went back onto the balcony. Rothwell then stabbed Rivas in the neck and back.
Before the defendant fled the scene she told the other friends in the hotel room that it was “no big deal,” and that “they need to get over it” and “go to hell.” Rothwell fled the scene, drove to McDonald’s, and ate burgers and chicken nuggets before returning home to Valencia.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.