BROOMFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — A 33-year-old man was convicted of murdering a Broomfield County woman during a 2015 robbery, and was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.
After a five-day trial, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian S. Mason said Ricardo Munoz-Diaz, 33, was found guilty of first-degree felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated robbery (wound or strike), aggravated robbery, and two counts of second-degree burglary.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The charges stem from Oct. 11, 2015, when Munoz-Diaz broke into the home of 33-year-old Amalia Karolina Lopez-Leon, along E. Midway Boulevard in Broomfield, according to the district attorney's office. He had lived in the same mobile home park as Lopez-Leon and believed she kept a large amount of cash in a safe.
That day, Lopez-Leon was not home at the time and Munoz-Diaz, who entered through a back door, attempted to steal money from the safe, but was unable to open it. He then left the home.
A week later, on Oct. 18, 2015, he returned to the home in another attempt to open the safe. This time, Lopez-Leon was home.
He entered through the front door and brandished a BB gun. He commanded Lopez-Leon to open the safe, but she wasn't able to and Munoz-Diaz started to choke and beat her. As they struggled, Lopez-Leon was able to go to the kitchen to grab a knife to defend herself, but Munoz-Diaz grabbed it and stabbed her eight times in the chest and torso, according to the district attorney's office.
Lopez-Leon died on the kitchen floor. She had "significant blunt-force trauma as well as stab wounds as deep as seven inches to her lungs, heart, liver, and stomach," according to the district attorney's office.
Munoz-Diaz left the home and returned later to steal the safe, a purse and two watches. He took the safe to a nearby lake, where he was able to open it. Inside, he found miscellaneous papers and documents, but no cash. He dumped the safe in the water, according to the district attorney's office.
He pawned the watches and then fled for Mexico to hide with his parents, according to the district attorney's office.
He was convicted on April 23, 2021 and his sentences will run concurrent with the sentence of life without parole.
District Attorney Brian Mason said his heart breaks for the victim and her children.
“I cannot imagine the overwhelming fear she felt as she struggled for her life that horrible day," he said. “Although it took six years to secure justice because of the defendant’s flight, I am grateful that justice was finally served. The defendant was motivated by money and greed and then fled from authorities after perpetrating this terrible crime. I appreciate the effort that went into extraditing Mr. Munoz-Diaz back from his hiding place in Mexico. And I appreciate the hard work of the prosecution team that led to this important verdict.”