El Salvadoran Sentenced to Forty Years in Federal Prison for Armed Robbery and Felony Murder Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE – Marvin Aguilar-Lopez, 26, of El Salvador, was sentenced earlier today to 40 years in federal prison for his armed robbery and felony murder conviction. He will be deported after he completes his prison sentence. Aguilar-Lopez’s sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, Thomas G. Atteberry, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Chief Allen Banks of the Albuquerque Police Department.
Aguilar-Lopez and his co-defendants, Pablo De Leon Ortiz, 34, and Francisco Melgar-Cabrera, 30, both of El Salvador, were indicted in Oct. 2009, and charged with robbery, felony murder and firearms offenses in a nine-count indictment stemming from the armed robbery of the Denny’s Restaurant located at 1602 Coors Blvd. NW in Albuquerque on June 20, 2009, and the murder of Stephanie Anderson, a cook at the restaurant. Aguilar-Lopez and De Leon Ortiz, who had been in state custody since the day of the robbery and murder, were arrested on the federal charges on Oct. 19, 2009.
On April 14, 2010, a ten-count superseding indictment was filed adding Jose “Tito” Humberto Melgar-Cabrera, the brother of Francisco Melgar-Cabrera, as a defendant. Jose Melgar-Cabrera was charged for being an accessory after the fact for assisting Francisco Melgar-Cabrera to avoid apprehension, and he was arrested on April 21, 2010.
A 14-count second superseding indictment was filed on October 14, 2010. The new indictment added four new robbery and firearms offenses against De Leon Ortiz, Aguilar-Lopez and Francisco Melgar-Cabrera. The new charges arose out of the armed robbery of the Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon located at 10019 Coors Blvd. NW in Albuquerque on June 13, 2009.
On Sept. 30, 2011, Aguilar-Lopez entered guilty pleas to Counts 3 and 4 of the second superseding indictment charging him with the armed robbery of the Denny's Restaurant, and the felony murder of Ms. Anderson. His sentencing hearing was delayed by competency proceedings which concluded with judicial findings of legal competency.
Jose Melgar-Cabrera pleaded guilty to Count 10 of the second superseding indictment charging him with being an accessory after the fact on Sept. 23, 2011, and admitted assisting his brother to flee to avoid apprehension on the day of the armed robbery of the Denny's Restaurant and Ms. Anderson's felony murder. Melgar-Cabrera was sentenced to a 48-month term of imprisonment on Dec. 14, 2011, and faces deportation after he completes his prison sentence.
On Sept. 30, 2011, De Leon Ortiz entered a guilty plea to Counts 4 and 13 of the second superseding indictment, charging him with a felony murder committed during the June 20, 2009 armed robbery of an Albuquerque-area Denny's Restaurant, and the June 13, 2009 armed robbery of an Albuquerque-area Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon. De Leon Ortiz was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison on March 13, 2013, and will be deported after he completes his prison sentence.
Francisco Melgar-Cabrera has yet to be apprehended and is considered a fugitive. The charges in the second superseding indictment against Francisco Melgar-Cabrera are only accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Albuquerque Division of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Louis E. Valencia, Presiliano A. Torrez and Roberto D. Ortega.