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HOUSTON, TX ( Covering Katy) – The first of three defendants has been sentenced for the 2011 murder of a man in his Katy home.  Tony Escobar has been sentenced to life for the murder on  Plantain Drive not from from Morton Road.

The victim Russell Lopez is described as a talented carpenter, devoted father and caring son. But according to one of the suspects in his killing, Lopez was also dealing drugs. The 31-year-old was found dead in his home December 20. 2011.  He was beaten to death with a hammer while his two children and a nephew were inside the house. One of the swings of the hammer struck so hard that it left blood on a the  face of a child.

hammer death suspects

Amber Thornton and Joseph Facundo have yet to be sentenced.

According to court documents Amber Thornton who was 22 at the time of the murder told detectives she, and two teens went to the home to buy marijuana as they had in the past. She describes how Tony Escobar, then 17, and Joseph Facundo, then 18, then proceeded to rob Lopez. She maintains Facundo hit Lopez with a hammer as Escobar entered and tied up Lopez’s 7-year-old son and 6-year-old nephew. The document details how the two teenagers dragged an unconscious Lopez into another room and continued the beating. A 7-month-old child was left on a sofa.

After grabbing some items out of the house, the trio took off in Lopez’s SUV. The victim’s son was able to pick the two teens out of a photo lineup.

Thornton and Facundo have yet to be sentenced.

Murder Scene Map Courtesy Google Maps

Murder Scene Map

Courtesy Google Maps


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Man Sentenced In 2011 Brutal Katy Area Murder  was originally published on