Murdered Fresno teen's family demands "Justice for Desmend"

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno County house party deteriorated into a melee last year -- and ended with a teenager murdered. Desmend Rios was just 19 and barely involved in the scrum before he was stabbed to death.

More than 100 young people attended the party last September, but Rios was there for less than half an hour before police helicopters scared everyone into breaking it up. Rios never got past the front yard.

At the foot of the Fresno County courthouse or in the hallways comes the demand "Justice for Desmend." 19-year-old Desmend Rios was part of a huge group trying to leave a house when a fight broke out. His girlfriend says Desmend wasn't initially involved as an argument escalated and punches started landing. But as the fight grew, she lost him.

"I couldn't see anybody," she said. "There were so many people. I didn't see any of them anymore."

"What were you trying to do?" prosecutor Noelle Pebet asked.

"Trying to find Desmend," the girlfriend said.

We're not identifying the witnesses, but the girlfriend says she ran around the property looking for Desmend. When she finally got just a glimpse of him, he was under attack.

"The only reason I noticed it was Desmend is he just got some new shoes and I saw his shoes sticking out from where the guys were all on top of him."

Friends drove Desmend to the hospital, but it was already too late. They had no idea who stabbed him, but as they tried to save their friend, the host of the party was getting the guilt off his chest.

"I heard him mumbling, saying 'I stuck him' or 'I got him,'" said one of Lopez's friends.

A few hours later, sheriff's detectives arrested Anthony Lopez and after originally denying he was even there when the fight broke out, he confessed to them as well.

"He said he had the knife and he used the knife to stab the victim on the victim's side," said Fresno County sheriff's detective Hector Palma.

Desmend's family got one step closer to justice Thursday when a judge decided there is enough evidence for Lopez to stand trial for murder.

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