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Yuma man charged with murder in fatal stabbing
The 28-year-old man arrested in a fatal stabbing Wednesday night in the backyard of a residence in the 4000 block of West 15th Street was arraigned Monday in Yuma Justice Court.
A felony complaint was filed against Epitacio Santa Cruz of Yuma, charging him with one count of second-degree murder in last week's stabbing death of 37-year-old Victor Parra Lopez.
Santa Cruz was arraigned before Yuma Justice of the Peace Greg Stewart, who ordered his bond remain a $1 million cash, meaning that unlike paying a percentage of the amount through a bail bond company, the full amount must be paid in cash in order to be released from custody.
During the hearing, prosecutor William Katz said it was the state's position that Santa Cruz should be considered a flight risk, given the nature of the offense, the sentence he was likely to receive if convicted and that he does not have a fixed home address.
In addition to assigning the Yuma County Public Defender's Office to represent him, Stewart set Santa Cruz's next court date, a preliminary hearing, for Friday at 4 p.m.
According to Yuma police, officers, along with the Yuma Fire Department, responded to the residence at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday for a report of an injured person.
Officers located the victim dead in the backyard. Lopez suffered an apparent stab wound to his torso.
Police investigators remained at the murder scene throughout the night and into the following morning as they continued the investigation. Detectives identified Santa Cruz as the main suspect.
The investigation revealed that Lopez and Santa Cruz were at the scene the night of the stabbing and had an argument. During the argument, Lopez suffered a stab wound and Santa Cruz fled the scene.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.