Fatal Stabbing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

Juan Perez-Lopez Cropped

The Springdale man accused of stabbing a mechanic to death because of unsatisfactory car service pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges Wednesday morning.

Juan Perez-Lopez, 27, of Springdale, was arrested Feb. 13 on suspicion of capital murder in connection with a deadly stabbing on Huntsville Avenue and Morrison Place the same night. He remains in the Washington County Detention Center without bond, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

A Washington County judge gave Perez-Lopez a May 22 trial date.

The capital murder suspect told police he stabbed Cecilio Villalobos 15 or 16 times after confronting him in his office at a local auto shop, according to a preliminary report from the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office.

Cecilio’s first name is Jesus, but he goes by his middle name. His brother Jesus also works at the same auto shop, but goes by his first name, according to an employee at the shop. Jesus was not at the shop Thursday because he was spending the day with his family, the employee said.

The suspect said he believed Villalobos was “making him to be a fool” by giving Perez-Lopez unsatisfactory service while working on the suspect’s car, the report states. The suspect stole a knife from the Springdale Walmart with the purpose of stabbing Villalobos, Lopez-Perez allegedly told detectives.

While Villalobos was sitting in a chair at the shop, Perez-Lopez stabbed him in the chest. The victim then stood up and walked outside, where Perez-Lopez followed him and stabbed him at least 14 more times in the parking lot, the suspect told police, according to the preliminary report.

Perez-Lopez “stated that he walked outside following Villalobos and noticed that he was hurt and wanted to make him stop hurting,” the report states. After killing Villalobos, the suspect put the victim’s hat over Villalobos’ face, telling him to “go to sleep,” according to the preliminary report.

Perez-Lopez “showed no emotion as he spoke about the incident and no remorse,” the reporting officer states in the report.

Police received a call at 6:38 p.m. of two men fighting near Morrison and Huntsville. The caller said one of the men left the scene on a bicycle, possibly with a knife.

Officers found 48-year-old Villalobos dead from multiple stab wounds in the parking lot of a tire shop.

Officers caught up to a man on a bicycle with a bloody knife. He was taken into custody and later identified as Perez-Lopez.

Investigators believe the two men had been arguing over a vehicle. Villalobos was employed at Latino Mechanica located on Campbell and Huntsville. Perez-Lopez became upset about how the shop was handling the repair of his vehicle and an argument ensued, according to police.

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