Police Say Man Who Hired Hit Man Nearly Killed

Authorities say a man who allegedly put a hit on another person was nearly stabbed to death when the hit man joined forces with the intended victim and turned on him.

Francisco Lopez was beaten, stabbed repeatedly, nearly strangled
and then dumped down the side of a mountain last month. He was
hospitalized two days later after he was found by hikers. He was
arrested Oct. 30 after being released from the hospital.

On Friday, Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies said the chain of events began when Lopez, 23, recruited Jose Loza to kill a 22-year-old man who had been hanging around Lopez's girlfriend.

The intended victim, Victor Garcia, allegedly joined forces with Loza, 28, and two other people, one of them a 15-year-old boy. Authorities said the attackers, who knew each other, turned on Lopez after he and the others drove Garcia to a remote mountain area where he was to be killed.

Garcia, Lopez, Loza and the 15-year-old boy were arrested for investigation of attempted murder and criminal conspiracy, and Lopez was also arrested for investigation of soliciting murder. The fourth person, identified as Victor Amezcua, 28, remains at large.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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