The Coast News Group
Vista Courthouse. File photo/The Coast NeWs
Vista Courthouse. File photo/The Coast News

Man convicted of murder, arson in Escondido stabbing, house fire

VISTA — A man has been convicted of first-degree murder and arson for stabbing another man multiple times inside an Escondido home, then setting the residence ablaze with the victim still inside.

Jose Trinidad Romero, 35, was found guilty by a Vista jury on Tuesday of killing Procopio Blanco Cervantes, 50, who was found by firefighters inside a burning Waverly Place home on Oct. 4, 2020.

Prosecutors alleged surveillance footage captured Romero and Cervantes entering the home together, then Romero leaving the home moments before it went up in flames.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, Cervantes was found lying in the home’s kitchen with multiple stab wounds, prosecutors alleged. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to Escondido police.

Romero was arrested a few days later.

A motive for the killing was not disclosed, but at Romero’s arraignment in late 2020, a prosecutor alleged the men had a dispute over property that was left behind at the residence.

For more local crime news, please read The Coast News’ Weekly Crime Reports and Daily Arrest Logs for up-to-the-minute arrest reports in North County. Visit the San Diego County Sheriff’s website for more information about arrests, cold cases and active alerts. 

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