Guilty verdict in 2014 stabbing death near Lynnwood

EVERETT — A Lynnwood man is looking at more than 20 years in prison after being convicted of murder Monday in a fatal stabbing last fall.

A Snohomish County Superior Court jury found Encarnacion “EJ” Salas IV guilty of second-degree murder with a knife.

Salas, 24, had faced trial on the more serious charge of first-degree murder. Prosecutors said the killing was premeditated, but Salas’ attorney maintained the defendant acted in self defense.

Sentencing is scheduled Thursday.

Salas was charged after the Oct. 24, 2014, death of Jesus “Jesse” Cardenas Lopez, 34. Jurors heard differing stories about the violence.

Prosecutors said Salas attacked Cardenas Lopez in anger over the victim’s wish for their relationship to become more intimate. Salas maintained he was wounded fighting off the victim’s advances.

The killing occurred in front of Cardenas Lopez’s mother in a home she shared with her son near Lynnwood.

“Mom, help me, I’m dying,” the victim reportedly said. She pulled on the defendant’s ears and nose trying to reach her son.

Salas eventually climbed off Cardenas Lopez and went out onto a balcony. The dying man’s mother locked him outside and sought help.

Salas was gone when police arrived, reportedly fleeing without even waiting to put on his shoes.

Detectives tracked him down the next day. He reportedly was hiding in the closet at his apartment. He didn’t comply with commands and was zapped twice with electric shocks before surrendering.

Salas was found with a deep cut to his right forearm. When taken to an area hospital before being booked into jail, Salas claimed the wound came from an encounter with a tree, or perhaps some barbed wire.

When the nurse asked more questions, he laughed and said, “I killed someone,” according to court papers.

In closing arguments, lawyers focused attention on Salas’ wound. Deputy prosecutor Cindy Larsen said Salas cut himself after fleeing the scene. Defense attorney Paul Thompson said the cut was from Cardenas Lopez, who he said had wielded the knife at the start of the fight.

Jurors deliberated for about four and a half hours Friday. They resumed for a couple of hours Monday morning before announcing their verdict.

Cardenas Lopez had worked in customer service and played the saxophone.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @snorthnews.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mariner High School. (Mariner High School)
Police: Teen arrested for threats against 3 Mukilteo schools

After a social media post, the 14-year-old is being investigated for allegedly threatening to shoot and bomb.

Previous Smith Ave campers have relocated to across the  'no-sit, no-lie' ordinance boundary and set up on Hewitt at the US 2 entrance in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish County proposes 0.1% sales tax for affordable housing

The tax could be approved without a public vote. It would allow for a dramatic increase in new housing for low-income people.

A rainbow appears in front of Andy Huestis and his girlfriend Alisha Garvin as they and other families gather to remember the victims on the third anniversary of the Oso mudslide on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Oso, Wa. Huestis' sister, Christina Jefferds, and her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Violet Huestis, were among the 43 people killed in the mudslide.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Funding secured: Mudslide memorial will be a place to remember

Since 2014, families have mourned at a roadside shrine near Oso, but “we knew we needed something bigger.”

With omicron likely to appear here, officials urge boosters

Washington’s state epidemiologist said it could be weeks before we know more about the new coronavirus variant.

A traveler points to Bedal Campground on a map posted along the Mountain Loop Highway in June. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Mountain Loop Highway to close for the winter

The 14-mile stretch of gravel road will shut down starting Friday. Snow has hit higher elevations.

Everett man hospitalized after crashing into wall off I-5

He reportedly drove onto a bus-only ramp near the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and hit a cement wall.

A banner outside the door of Goodies in Mountlake Terrace says, “$795,000 Hit 5 ticket sold here.” (Andrea Brown / The Herald) 20211201
Who has the $795,000 Hit 5 ticket sold in Mountlake Terrace?

The winner has until Dec. 8 to claim the prize from a lottery ticket sold June 11 at Goodies Food.

Bradley Woolard (U.S. Attorney's Office)
Arlington-area man who led fentanyl ring gets 20 years

When Bradley Woolard’s home was raided in 2018, authorities found more than 12,000 fentanyl pills.

Approved Legislative District Map (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
State Supreme Court declines to draw new redistricting plan

All nine justices said a bipartisan commission achieved its primary purpose, despite missing a deadline.

Most Read