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La Mesa

An El Cajon woman pleaded no contest Wednesday to kidnap for robbery and voluntary manslaughter charges in the death of a liquor store clerk whose face was doused with insecticide in a bizarre 1981 slaying.

Cheryl Minichilli, now 24, was facing a retrial for her participation in the Sept. 20, 1981, robbery and murder of Hector Lopez, 20, of Jamul, at the Eastridge Liquor Store in La Mesa.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Barbara Gamer set sentencing for July 17 and told Minichilli she would face a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Gamer dismissed first-degree murder and robbery charges.

In the 1982 trial, Minichilli and her boyfriend, Ted Burtt III, now 22, also of El Cajon, were both convicted of first-degree murder. Burtt’s convictions were upheld and he is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

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An appeals court threw out Minichilli’s convictions in November, 1984, citing a change in the state law over jury instructions about an “aider and abettor.” Her sentence of 25 years to life was voided.


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