Crime - Sacto 911

She stopped to ask if he needed help – and he slashed her throat, jury finds

Juan Avalos faces a maximum of 26 years to life in prison. He is to be sentenced January 27, 2017, by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown. File photo of Sacramento Superior Court.
Juan Avalos faces a maximum of 26 years to life in prison. He is to be sentenced January 27, 2017, by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown. File photo of Sacramento Superior Court. aseng@sacbee.com

A man accused in the slashing death of a 32-year-old North Highlands woman on Watt Avenue in April 2015 has been convicted of first-degree murder.

A Sacramento County jury on Thursday also found that 30-year-old Juan Avalos personally used a deadly weapon in commission of the crime, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

Nichole Riolo was driving in North Highlands on April 22, 2015, when Avalos, a pedestrian, intentionally kicked her car as she drove by so she would stop her car.

Riolo drove into a parking lot on Watt Avenue and got out of the car to see if Avalos needed help. As Riolo walked back to her car, sheriff’s officials said, Avalos attacked her from behind, slashing her throat. Riolo died at the scene.

When Avalos was arrested a half-mile away, he had Riolo’s phone in his pocket and her blood on his pants, authorities said.

Avalos faces a maximum of 26 years to life in prison. He is to be sentenced Jan. 27 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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