Food co-workers had sex before fatal stabbing, suspect says

Lizette Andrea Cuesta 19 was suffering from multiple stab wounds and was just minutes from death when she told police who attacked her

A suspect in the killing of a 19-year-old woman found stabbed and covered in blood by the side of a road said he snapped after she elbowed him and never meant to kill her. "He threw his whole life away for nothing", said Tracy Gross, the mother of murder suspect Daniel Gross.

The 19-year-old says the confrontation happened after he and Cuesta had sex in the back of his fiancee Melissa Leonardo's auto as Leonardo drove. According to Gross, he acted in self-defense. "I didn't put two and two together".

Lizette Cuesta crawled almost 100 metres to get to where passing motorists could see her.

Lizette Andrea Cuesta, 19, was suffering from multiple stab wounds and was just minutes from death when she told police who attacked her. Investigators believe the couple may have tied her up with a rope found at the crime scene.

What's clear is that all three of them worked at a Carl's Jr restaurant in Tracy, in California's Central Valley, and that Cuesta willingly got in the vehicle with the two suspects.

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Gross and Leonardo were arraigned on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time) in a tense Alameda County courtroom, where family members screamed at the two suspects, KCBS reported. "I know if it wasn't for her, he wouldn't have done it", said Gross.

"She's scared and frightening by this".

While Gross admitted to his guilt, he declined to say how Cuesta ended up dead. She says he said because Leonardo wanted him to. She's just as guilty as he is. "He shouldn't get the whole punishment for it". "And I can't believe my son had anything to do with it".

Daniel Gross, left, and Melissa Leonardo, right, are seen in booking photos released by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

When asked as to his girlfriend's involvement, Gross said he'd rather not comment. "You just don't know where he's going to take his anger towards if he's trying to harm himself", said Bowman. He said Cuesta was the one armed with a knife, which he said he had given her earlier as protection for when she's out skateboarding. The Bowmans and Gross' mother say their hearts go out to the victim's family. Both defendant's had their cases continued to March 16 for entry of pleas.

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