Lynnwood man gets 20 years in prison for deadly 2014 stabbing

EVERETT — A judge didn’t buy a Lynnwood man’s explanation that he fatally stabbed a friend in self-defense last year.

On Thursday, three days after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, Encarnacion “EJ” Salas IV was sentenced in Snohomish County Superior Court to 20 years in prison. It was the maximum sentence under state sentencing guidelines.

Salas was charged after the Oct. 24, 2014, death of Jesus “Jesse” Cardenas Lopez, 34. The victim had 15 knife wounds to his lungs, liver, neck and head.

Judge Bruce Weiss told the defendant his testimony often didn’t match the physical evidence from the crime scene. Weiss called it “a brutal murder” that reminded him “of an animal being slaughtered by a butcher.”

Salas, 24, had been charged with first-degree murder, which includes premeditation, but was convicted of the lesser charge.

Jurors heard differing stories. 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 told her.

She tried to pull Salas off of her son before Salas eventually went onto a balcony before running away.

In seeking the maximum sentence, deputy prosecutor Cindy Larsen said Salas “has shown no remorse for his actions, his victim or his victim’s mother.”

Salas, who had no previous criminal convictions, did not make a statement before he was sentenced.

Defense attorney Paul Thompson said Salas plans an appeal, which made it difficult for him to say anything in court that could be used against him later. In conversations with him, Salas has expressed remorse, Thompson said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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