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Man convicted of killing his girlfriend

Murder victim - Marie Antoinette Mesa

Man convicted of killing his girlfriend

By Rikki Mitchell . CREATED Jan 28, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 17, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Pima County jury found a Tucson man guilty Monday of stabbing and killing his girlfriend.

Armando Lopez was convicted of first degree murder for the death of Marie Mesa in January 2012.

Pima County Sheriff's Deputies say the murder happened in the 6100 block of North Ginger -- near Orange Grove and Camino de la Tierra.

Sheriff's deputies said shortly after midnight, 44-year-old Marie Antoinette Mesa was being beaten by Lopez. Her 16-year-old daughter rushed in to try to help.

Deputy Dawn Barkman said, "Mom yelled to her go outside and call 9-1-1, which the girl did. She took her 10-year-old cousin who was spending the night, and went outside and called 9-1-1."

And when deputies arrived, they found Lopez coming out of the home, covered in blood.

Inside, deputies found the mother fighting for her life after being stabbed a number of times. She was rushed to the hospital, where she died shortly after arriving.

Mesa's family spoke with 9OYS today saying they miss the vibrant and happy mother, who always held Easter gatherings at her home.

They also feel the guilty verdict was just.

"It brings a little closure," said Mike Ronquillo, Marie's uncle. "But really, nothing can bring Marie back. There's losses on both sides. My thanks to the Lord for the verdict being over with and I think it was a just verdict."

The family also wanted to thank everyone involved in the case included the prosecutor, the jury, the detectives who investigated and the first responders, one of which Ronquillo says tried to save Marie's life upon arrival.

Nearby neighbors were shocked to hear that someone they knew and saw often was murdered. Heidi Jaenick lives two doors down. She described Mesa to KGUN-9, "She was just a beautiful person. A great neighbor. One of those neighbors that you could grab sugar from. Super friendly and reliable."

Lopez has a prior record. Two assault charges with the intent to injure and one resisting arrest charge, dating back to 1999 and 2004.

Lopez will be sentenced August 5.