A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a Montebello man’s conviction for killing his girlfriend in a Baldwin Park motel room, where her body was discovered nearly a week later.
In a 2-1 ruling, a panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation to support Nicolas Figueroa Manos’ first-degree murder conviction for Nancy Ester Mederos’ June 2017 killing.
The majority noted that Manos — whose relationship with the woman was “volatile and marred by violence” — failed to help the 19-year-old woman after he inflicted “severe and repeated injuries,” did not call 911 after he struck her because he did not want to go to jail, sent taunting text messages to one of her friends and “had the presence of mind to reassure the victim’s family she was alive and safe.”
In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Lamar Baker wrote that there was “substantial evidence” that Manos “committed murder, but not premeditated and deliberate first degree murder.” Baker concluded that “the evidence does not justify a first degree murder conviction.”
Police were summoned to the motel after a housekeeper spotted someone who was possibly unconscious on the bed on June 30, 2017. Police subsequently found the victim’s body on the floor.
She had been dead for six days and died of blunt force trauma and other undetermined factors, according to coroner’s records.
Manos was arrested the following day by Baldwin Park police. Jurors convicted him in June 2019.
Manos, now 36, is serving a 25-years-to-life sentence in state prison.