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Six Years Later, Family, Friends Share Stories About Lompoc Murder Victim

Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge sentences Eduardo Robles to 26 years to life for death of Selina Lopez Bustos in 2012

Hand holding photo of murder victim Click to view larger
After the sentencing hearing for Eduardo Robles, the family of Selina Lopez Bustos handed out bracelets with the Lompoc murder victim’s name and a laminated photo of her.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Six years after Selina Lopez Bustos was brutally stabbed to death, family and friends of the Lompoc woman — considered their sunshine — got the chance to speak to the man they labeled a monster for killing her.

Eduardo Robles Robles, now 29, who was found guilty of first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend by a Santa Barbara County Superior Court jury, was sentenced Wednesday to 26 years to life in state prison. 

Before Judge Gustavo Lavayen handed down the sentence, the woman’s family and friends made victim-impact statements in court.

The sentencing hearing came days before the anniversary of when the 30-year-old Lompoc woman was killed — June 15, 2012.

“Almost six years have passed, and I feel like it was yesterday that she was taken from us,” said Selina’s sister, Elvira Bustos Martinez. “There is no worse feeling or pain than having a loved one killed.”

Jurors in the trial also found Robles guilty of theft for taking Bustos' cellphone to Mexico. Additionally, the panel deemed as true the special allegations including use of a deadly weapon. 

The woman had 30 stab wounds, six of which could be considered lethal, according to witnesses who testified.

During the trial, prosecutors Brandon Jebens and Anne Nudson presented evidence that Bustos had tried to break up with Robles, and showed a series of text messages to reveal a controlling relationship.

Defense attorney Sydney Bennett blamed the fact Robles worked as a police informant for his girlfriend’s death.

Mother of murder victim Click to view larger
Family, inlcuding mom Elvira Lopez, and friends of Selina Lopez Bustos wore T-shirts in her memory to the Santa Barbara County Superior Court sentencing hearing on Wednesday for the man convicted of fatally stabbing her in 2012. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

After the fatal stabbing, Robles fled to Mexico, where he was captured in 2013 and extradited back to the United States in 2014.

Before hearing the victim-impact statements, the judge denied a defense motion seeking a new trial.

In her emotional statement, Bustos Martinez said she wished she had protected her sister from “the monster that took her life.”

Her family feels still strongly feels the loss of Selina, especially their parents.

“My parents are not the same since that day. They do not smile or laugh,” she said, adding they have become very fragile since Selina’s death.

Bustos Martinez said she will never forgive Robles for killing Selina, a friend, sister, aunt, daughter, coworker and woman who was special.

“We suffer every day, every holiday, every birthday,” Selina’s sister said. “Every event without her breaks our hearts. … We cannot understand why he killed her, why he took her from us.”

She also read statements on behalf of her son, Gabriel, who was 5 when Selina was killed, and their mother, Elvira Lopez.

Gabriel only learned recently how his beloved aunt died, and the now 11-year-old boy began crying uncontrollably.

“I explained to him that in this world there are good and bad people, and that someone bad took his nina’s life,” Bustos Martinez said. 

As Selina’s sister read the statements, crying could  be heard in the courtroom filled with the murder victim’s family and friends. 

Adoped aunt Ana Tamayo called Selina a loyal, charming, respectful, hard-working and beautiful woman, recalling welcoming Robles into her home when he and Selina dated.

"Selina was an amazing person with a heart of gold," friend Maricela Flores said. "She always saw the good in people. She impacted so many lives. .. Our community loved her."

She had worked for 12 years for a Lompoc insurance agency, where sought to help others, not complete a business transaction, Flores said. She also was active in La Purisima Catholic Church. 

“Selina was murdered in cold blood — 30 stab wounds by a human being that has no remorse," Flores said, calling Robles a coward.

Bustos attended Lompoc High School and graduated with the class of 2000 before earning three associate of arts degrees from Allan Hancock College, according to her obituary. 

She transferred to Antioch University Santa Barbara in the fall of 2011, and was pursuing a bachelor of science degree in psychology with plans to later obtain a master’s degree.

“Your honor, please take into consideration, Eduardo has not only killed my sister. He killed part of our hearts and took our happiness. We will never be the same after my sister’s death,” Bustos Martinez said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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