A Lake Elsinore man who beat his wife and housemate and threatened to detonate a hand grenade to keep them under his control pleaded guilty today to assault with a deadly weapon and other charges.
Samuel Joseph Lopez, 31, entered his plea during a status conference before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jerry Johnson at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
Last week, the defendant pleaded not guilty to 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.
The District Attorney’s Office agreed today to drop most of the allegations in exchange for Lopez’s acknowledgement of guilt on the assault
count, spousal abuse and possessing an explosive.
He’s expected to be sentenced to eight years in prison on July 27.
Johnson ordered the defendant held without bail at the Southwest Detention Center until the hearing.
Lopez, who has a prior conviction for domestic abuse, was arrested July 9 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 that 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.