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Conviction: Santa Monica man found guilty of killing girlfriend

Photo: Denise Figueroa. Credit: DMVA Santa Monica man was convicted Monday on first-degree murder charges in the 2009 beating death of his girlfriend.

Adel Tabrizi Chapel, a 25-year-old black man, was found guilty of murdering Denise Figueroa, a 22-year-old Latina.

Authorities said Figueroa had been reported missing Feb. 28 after she left her mother's home and did not return.

A week later, her body was found in the trunk of a car by police in Valley Village. Officials had been notified by KTLA-TV Channel 5 that they had received an anonymous tip by fax saying that a homicide had been committed Feb. 28.

According to KTLA, the fax read:

To Whom it may concern:

[Name removed] is believed to have killed [name removed] on Feb. 28. She should be reported missing by her family. The vehicle was cleaned up by [name removed] and his friend [name removed], her body is in the trunk of her car is a black trash bag. Which should be located in about a 1.2-2 square mile radius of 11911 Magnolia Blvd, [name removed] Valley Villiage, CA 91607."

It was later revealed that the fax was sent by Chapel's brother, who also testified during the trial.

Photo: Adel Tabrizi Chapel. Credit: KTLA.Deputy L.A. County Dist. Atty.  Jane Creighton argued in court that Chapel killed Figueroa with a hammer before putting her body in the trunk of a black Nissan Altima.

Following closing statements, it took the jury three hours to deliberate and find him guilty.

Chapel is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 2 by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Martin Herscovitz. He faces up to 56 years to life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced the next day at Airport Superior Court in a separate carjacking and assault case for which he was convicted on all counts  in May.

KTLA Video: Verdict reached in trunk body murder case

-- Sarah Ardalani

Top photo: Denise Figueroa. Credit: DMV. Bottom photo: Adel Tabrizi Chapel. Credit: KTLA.

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