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Ex-boyfriend sentenced in fatal 2011 stabbing at South Gate high school

A 21-year-old South Gate man was sentenced April 13 to more than 40 years to life in prison for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend at a South Gate high school in 2011 and assaulting others who tried to help her, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Abraham Lopez, a Latino, was convicted March 4 on 11 counts including first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of assault upon a peace officer, two counts of having weapons on school grounds, two counts of resisting an executive officer and false imprisonment, prosecutors said.

On Sept. 30, 2011, Lopez, then a senior at South East High School in the 2700 block of Tweety Boulevard, attacked another senior, Cindi Santana, a 17-year-old Latina.

Prosecutors said Lopez confronted Santana during lunch about 11 a.m. and forced her to speak with him. When Santana flagged down a school dean for assistance, Lopez put the victim in a choke hold and fought off anyone who tried to help her.

Christiana Ordonez, a school dean, and an 11th-grader, Jorge Garcia, tried to free Santana. Lopez pulled out a knife, slashed the dean, stabbed Garcia and then stabbed Santana twice in the back, according to prosecutors.

After the stabbing, school police and faculty were able to subdue the defendant, who was arrested at the school. Santana was taken to a local hospital where she died.

Santana had recently ended a three-year relationship with Lopez, prosecutors said during the trial.

The defendant had been arrested Sept. 25, 2011, for making a criminal threat against Santana and released on a $50,000 bond three days before the assault.

-- Jeanette Marantos

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