A Lake Elsinore man who allegedly beat his wife and housemate, threatening to detonate a hand grenade to keep them under his control, pleaded not guilty today to assault with a deadly weapon and other felony charges.
Samuel Joseph Lopez, 31, could face more than 15 years in prison if convicted of the assault charge, as well as making criminal threats, two counts of spousal abuse, three counts of witness intimidation and sentence-enhancing allegations of possessing an unlawful destructive device and using a weapon during a felony.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jerry Johnson, who took the defendant’s plea, appointed him a public defender and set a felony settlement conference in the case for July 19.
The judge kept Lopez’s bail at $1 million.
The defendant, who has a prior conviction for domestic abuse, was arrested Monday after his wife and housemate — neither of whom were identified in court documents — alleged that he had beat them and held them against their will.
“Lopez … struck his wife and dislocated her shoulder,” sheriff’s Detective Anthony Pelato said in a bail-setting affidavit filed with the court.
“He smashed a glass beer mug over his (housemate’s) head, causing severe injury. He threatened to kill both and possessed a live explosive device.”
The document later identified the device as a grenade.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Chavez, the attacks occurred over several days at the defendant’s Lake Elsinore property in the 32600 block of San Lucas Street.
The victims were finally able to escape and report what had allegedly happened to them, Chavez said.
Investigators tracked down Lopez in Fullerton and followed him to Corona, where he was taken into custody without incident.